First things first, we all hate periods; they are unexpected, painful, and messy. The awful cramps, untimely cravings, and uncomfortable bloating are a let down during this time of our month.
As if all this wasn’t sufficient, our elders advise us to avoid consuming cold drinks and foods while we are on periods, which is, ironically, what we crave the most.
But is this suggestion, right? Why do cold foods hinder our system, if at all? According to the past Chinese studies, drinking cold water during periods harms the balance of our body and, as a result, affects our health and skin.
A bowl of your favorite vanilla ice-cream as you watch your favorite show on OTT may sound like the ideal way to get relief from your period woes. On the other end, our elders or mothers often suggest skipping having cold foods during periods.
It is a common notion that girls shouldn’t drink drinks and have cold food during their period days. How true is it, and does it really make a difference? Let’s discover.
What really causes menstrual cramps?
Menstrual cramps are caused due to the extreme contractions of the abdominal muscles and uterine to discharge the body’s menstrual fluid.
These muscle contractions are caused by several chemicals that may also include prostaglandins, which is why we are asked to skip certain beverages and foods responsible for triggering this chemical’s production .
It is known to be a common Chinese old wives’ tale that drinking cold water leads to reduced temperature in the intestines that make it challenging for the intestines to absorb essential nutrients. Moreover, it may trigger acne. Cold foods like chilled desserts and ice creams may lead to serious cramps, further aggravating the condition.
While you are on your period, you must avoid eating cold foods and drinking cold water as they aggravate menstrual cramps. The muscles in the vaginal walls and ovary tense up.
These muscles can’t stretch further, which is why it causes uneasiness. For comfortable blood flow, avoid very cold and sugary items and drink warm water to keep away the inflammation .
All this, however, depends on individual to individual. Each woman has a different body system that works according to the other doshas of the body. While most may feel okay after taking cold items, some may experience extreme cramps. Our advice is to know what your body is used to and act accordingly.
However, taking preventive measures doesn’t hurt either. Drink and eat items that help produce heat in the body to let the blood flow without affecting your health. Include more nuts, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and green tea in your diet to ensure healthy and happy periods.
[Read: Home Remedies for Menstrual Cramps]
What does Ayurveda say?
Ayurveda’s ancient science also suggests that girls should have light and warm foods during periods and avoid food with a cooling effect. Ayurveda, 5000 years old, states that all the physical problems happen when the body’s natural balance is disturbed.
Accordingly, every individual is unique, and what is right for one may not be for another. There are 3 main categories in which people can be grouped. As per your characteristics, you are classified in one of the 3 doshas- Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. And then, the treatments and suitable diet plan for various medical problems are assessed.
The secret to great health is to keep your dosha in balance. Vata dominant girls are specifically recommended to skip cold foods during periods. Vata, which regulates movement in your body, should be kept in balance during periods by avoiding cold drinks and foods and having warm meals.
Cold foods aggravate Vata, which can end up in increased discomfort and pain. Even for Kapha and Pitta doshas, it is recommended to limit cooling foods during periods. It is regarded best to have foods that are warm, light, and cooked.
Several web portals help you identify your dosha. Check it out and note what foods are suitable for you, according to Ayurveda.
[Also Read: What to Eat and Avoid on Your Period]
Why You Shouldn’t Have Cold Water During Periods?
Many girls share that consuming cold drinks or foods like ice creams, soft drinks, or cold water makes their cramps worse during their periods. Though there isn’t adequate scientific evidence to prove a relation between menstrual cramps and cold foods, one reason may be prostaglandins.
Prostaglandins are natural chemicals in our body that cause contractions in the uterus to shed the endometrium, leading to periods. However, high levels of prostaglandins may lead to sharp menstrual pains.
Dairy products such as ice-creams contain arachidonic acid, which increases the prostaglandin levels in the body, thereby causing more cramps. If you experience extreme menstrual cramps, you might want to skip cold ice creams during periods. Though dairy products should be skipped, buttermilk and curd are suggested during periods.
It makes sense to analyze how our body reacts to cool drinks and foods during periods and opt for foods that soothe the body, not elevate discomfort or pain. Aerated drinks too should be skipped as they have rich sugar content, which tends to make cramps worse and cause inflammation.
Be your judge; next time you have a cold drink or ice cream during your period; observe how it feels afterward. Does it help or make menstrual cramps severe? Instead, go for ginger or chamomile tea to relieve pain and make periods comfortable and relaxing.