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Do I need to eat anything special when I have my period?

Kat Barefield, MS, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
No, unless you’re not eating healthfully. Most people don’t eat enough fruits and veggies, whole grains and healthy fats, so be sure to include veggies and/or fruit at each meal, a lean protein (skinless chicken, beans, seafood and soy products) and whole grains (oats, brown rice, whole wheat pasta/bread) at each meal. Low-fat milk products or alternatives fortified with calcium and vitamin D are also important for health. Finally, many females, especially adolescent girls do not get enough iron from their diet so in addition to eating healthfully, you should consider taking a quality multivitamin and/or a separate iron supplement if your doctor advises you to do so.
There is a possibility that you are losing considerable iron during your period. On average, women lose about ¼ cup of blood at each menstrual cycle; women with a heavier flow may even lose more. If you are feeling fatigue and weakness, this might be associated with a temporary drop in iron level associated with your menstrual cycle. Iron can be found in red meats, most legumes (kidney, lima, pinto, navy, black and soybeans), dark greens (collard greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach, and turnip greens) tofu and certain vegetables (broccoli, Swiss chard, asparagus, parsley, watercress, Brussels sprouts). You may want to check with your health care provider to see if taking a supplement is necessary during time of the month.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.