Why should one avoid eating cold foods and drinks when on periods?

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A bowl of your favourite strawberry ice-cream as you watch your favourite show on Netflix may sound like the perfect way to get relief from your period pain. But, on the other hand, we are often advised by our mothers or elders in the family to avoid having cold foods during periods. It is a common notion in India that girls shouldn’t have cold food and drink drinks during her period days. How true is it, and does it really make a difference? Let’s unravel.

A lot of girls share that consuming cold foods or drinks like ice creams, cold water or soft drinks, etc. during their periods make their cramps worse. Though there isn’t enough scientific evidence to prove a link between cold foods and menstrual cramps, one reason could be prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are natural chemicals in the body that cause contractions in the uterus to shed the endometrium, resulting in periods. However, high levels of prostaglandins can cause sharp menstrual pains. Dairy products like ice-creams contain arachidonic acid, which increases the prostaglandins levels in the body, thereby causing more cramps. If you experience severe menstrual cramps, you might want to skip cold ice creams during periods. Though dairy products should be avoided, curd and buttermilk are recommended during periods. It makes sense to analyze how your body reacts to cool foods and drinks during periods and choose foods that soothe the body, not elevate pain or discomfort. Aerated drinks too should be avoided as they have high sugar content, which tends to cause inflammation and make cramps worse. 

The ancient science of Ayurveda also suggests that girls should have warm and light foods during periods and avoid food with a cooling effect. Ayurveda, which is five thousand years old science, states that all the physical problems happen when the natural balance in the body is disturbed. According to this science, each individual is unique, and what is right for one may not be for another. Broadly speaking, there are three main categories in which individuals can be grouped. As per your characteristics, you are placed in one of the three doshas- Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. And, then the ideal diet plan and treatments for various medical conditions are assessed. The key to good health is to keep your dosha in balance. Vata dominant girls are expressly advised to avoid cold foods during periods. Vata which regulates movement in the body should be kept in balance during periods by having warm meals and avoiding cold foods and drinks. Cold foods aggravate Vata which can result in increased pain and discomfort. Even for Pitta and Kapha doshas, it is advised to restrict cooling foods during periods. It is considered best to have foods that are light, warm, and cooked. Many websites help you determine your dosha. Check it out and see what foods are right for you, according to Ayurveda.

Be your own judge, next time you have ice cream or a cold drink during your period, just observe how it feels afterwards does it help or make menstrual cramps worse. Instead, opt for chamomile or ginger tea that helps to ease pain and makes periods relaxing and comfortable.

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