Menstrual pain is significant in about half of women, and in up to 10 percent it is severe enough to interfere with work and other activities for one to two days every month.
Menstrual cramps can be caused by inflammation. A plant-based diet has been proven to reduce overall inflammation in the body. Women were put on an anti-inflammatory diet, a whole food plant based diet, for two menstrual cycles. These women experienced significant pain relief for menstrual cramps which included reduction in pain duration and pain intensity.
Menstrual cramps may also be caused by hormones. In every monthly menstrual cycle, the amount of estrogens in a woman’s body rises and falls. Estrogens are female sex hormones. They are responsible for breast development at puberty, and each month, they cause the lining of the uterus to thicken in anticipation of pregnancy. Any kind of fat drives estrogen levels up. It does not matter if it is animal fat or vegetable oil; the more of it there is in your diet, the more estrogen your body makes.
The Ideal Diet:
A plant-based diet.
- No animal products (meat, fish, dairy, eggs)
- Low in oils
- Plenty of whole foods
And for those concerned, yes, this is a healthy diet and it is easy to meet all of your nutritional requirements on a plant-based diet. If you’re not quite convinced, visit www.nutritionfacts.org
This diet automatically eliminates all animal fats and its recommended that you eliminate nearly all vegetable oils. Less fat in the diet means that less estrogen is produced, which is a good thing.
Plant foods also increase the amount of fiber in your diet, which helps your body to get rid of excess estrogens. Estrogens are normally pulled from the bloodstream by the liver, which sends them through a small tube, called the bile duct, into the intestinal tract. There, fiber soaks them up like a sponge and carries them out with the wastes. The more fiber there is in your diet, the better your natural “estrogen disposal system” works. Animal products don’t contain fiber. If fish, chicken, yogurt, or other animal products make up any substantial part of your diet, there will be less fiber in the digestive tract. The result is disastrous. The waste estrogens, that should bind to fiber and leave the body, end up passing back into the bloodstream. This hormone “recycling” increases the amount of estrogen in the blood. But you can block it with the fiber in grains, vegetables, beans, and other plant foods that keep waste estrogens headed toward the exit.
By avoiding animal products and added oils, you reduce estrogen production. And by replacing chicken, skim milk, and other fiberless foods with grains, beans, and vegetables, you will increase estrogen elimination.
It is important to avoid animal products and oily foods completely. Even seemingly modest amounts of them during the course of the month can cause more symptoms at the end of the month.
Some other benefits from this diet:
- Healthy weight loss
- Increased energy levels
- Reduced allergies
- Improved immune system
- Reduced overall illness
- Lower risks of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer etc.
- Improved skin/acne
- Stronger and faster-growing hair and nails
If you would like to learn more about how animal products affect our health, visit the Health Page. If you would like to learn more about transitioning to a plant-based diet/lifestyle, visit the Becoming Vegan Page.
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-The Vegan Lily