What You Should Eat While on Your Period

The menstrual cycle can be hard. Do you get extremely irritated by things that usually would not bother you? Your hormones are to blame! Our hormones definitely impact our bodies in many different ways. Between the bloating, the cramping, the cravings, and the mood swings, that time of the month is usually not the best week in any woman’s life. Still, you don’t have to let these problems control your life. Lifestyle adjustments can help you reduce or manage the signs and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. To get through your menstrual cycle with much less stress, scroll through to find out the best foods to focus on while you are on your period. As a registered dietitian, I will give you some tricks about which foods to eat and avoid on your period. Here are a few tips to modify your diet!

   1. Satisfy your sweet tooth

Women tend to crave junk food before and during their period due to the fluctuation in hormones. Most women are well aware that processed sweets are not great, but anyone who has experienced a sugar craving before their period will tell you it is tough to make smarter choices. There are options that give us the opportunity to fight sugar cravings. For instance, dark chocolate is a great treat while on your period. Try creating a combination of dark chocolate and almonds! Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and magnesium, which reduces mood swings by regulating serotonin.  Make sure you find the highest percent dark chocolate in the store. The higher the better, because it won’t contain as much sugar.

Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, which can also relieve period cramps. As you know, processed snacks are pumped full of added sugars. Swapping sugar for natural alternatives like dates or prunes would be a great idea for fighting sugar cravings. They are definitely something to consider if you’re looking to swap out anything processed. It is time to get creative, try to add dates or prunes to your diet by creating new recipes at home.

   2. Focus on drinking plenty of water

Sugary, carbonated drinks like soda contribute to bloating. Avoid sparkling water too. Just like soda, the carbonation will increase bloating. Caffeine is also one of the main foods to avoid on your period. When you have caffeine, it increases your bloating discomfort and irritates your uterus, which worsens your cramps. Stick to water instead! Upping your water intake will actually ease bloating. Make sure you keep track of your water consumption throughout the day by using Vivoo. 

    3. Load up calcium

Yogurt is one of the best foods to eat on your period, as it is a good source of calcium. Consuming calcium reduces feelings of depression and anxiety, which can prevent mood swings. You can increase calcium intake by adding yogurt to your diet. Try yogurt parfaits, they are actually a very healthy option for breakfast and snacks. If you are looking for a non-dairy source of calcium, try broccoli or kale instead. Any food that contains calcium can be considered a helpful food for your menstrual cycle. 

   4. Get magnesium boost 

Research shows that magnesium helps relieve PMS symptoms such as headaches and cramps. Whole grains are an excellent source of magnesium, which helps to reduce muscle tension as well as mood swings. Also, bananas and peanuts are one of the best mood-boosting foods, which are rich in potassium and magnesium. Try starting your day with a bowl of whole-wheat breakfast cereals or muesli, then have a light snack with a banana and a handful of peanuts. It’s that easy to increase our magnesium levels, and start feeling better fast!

    5. Maximize your dietary iron intake

Women’s nutritional needs change during menstruation. Women need more iron than men to make up for the amount of iron they lose in their menstrual period. Around 1 mg of iron is lost for every day of bleeding. The best source of iron is red meat. There are smaller amounts in chicken and fish too. If you don’t consume meat, be sure to choose leafy greens like spinach, kale, collard greens to replenish your body’s iron supply. 

 

Please share your feedback below about your experience and your choice of food during your period.

Take Vivoo of yourself!

5 Healthy Snacks to Beat Afternoon Cravings at Work

In recent years, everyone has become aware of the benefits of snack meals. They are not only necessary for losing weight, but also essential for feeling good and dealing with long work hours. Most of us feel our energy waning around 3 p.m. or 4 p.m on workdays. But it can be hard to come up with healthy and creative options for snack meals to replenish energy. So if you’re tired of constantly eating walnuts and hazelnuts, check out these 5 healthy snack alternatives which are easy to find and prepare:

1. I don’t have time to prepare anything.

Convenient, pre-packaged foods can be your savior for snack meals, but you should read the labels very carefully because today’s supermarkets are full of unhealthy industrial foods. You should choose snacks without sugar or food preservatives and with at least 3 grams of protein. An energy bar with about 100-400 Kcal (you can choose your snacks’ calorie count based on your current weight and your target weight) is generally the best choice. When you are bored at the office during the afternoon, stay away from the nearest chocolate wafers. Instead give the coffee and energy bar duo a try. You will observe your work performance getting better.

  2. It’s really hot out there! Give me some refreshing desserts! 

If you have never tried making ice cream at home you may think that it is tasteless and hard to prepare. Give it a chance; you will see how delicious it is even without sugar! Slice 1 medium sized banana, put it in a plastic bag, and let it rest in the freezer for a couple of hours. Once the banana slices are frozen, toss them in the blender and add 1 teaspoon of peanut butter, 1 teaspoon of cocoa, and a few hazelnuts.

  3. I’ve been feeling very hungry lately, and the usual snacks just don’t fill me up.

When the usual snacks just don’t cut it, it’s time to seek out an option with more protein, such as a sandwich with spreadable curd cheese and smoked turkey slices on rye or whole grain bread. You can add some avocado too if you are very hungry. This sandwich contains about 8-10 grams of protein and is a great snack to carry to work in your bag. Have a sparkling mineral soda with it for a refreshing twist; you will not feel hungry until dinner time!

  4. Yogurt + Granola Mix 

Here is another easy option that you can prepare at home or at the office. Mix together a small portion of yogurt (you can have probiotics if you choose) and sugar-free granola. If you prefer, instead of granola you can prepare yourself a portion of muesli mix: 2 tablespoons of oatmeal, 1 tablespoon of raisins, 5-6 raw almonds, and half a teaspoon of cinnamon.

  5. Fave Couple: Milk Coffee and Dark Chocolate 

Sometimes you may not feel very hungry during snack time and think that just drinking some coffee is enough. But it’s easy to be tempted by the little treats that we often eat alongside coffee, such as donuts, pastries, or chocolates. Every now and then we all make excuses such as, “It’s just a small piece, so it’s okay.”Here’s a healthy suggestion: You can have 1-2 small pieces of dark chocolate alongside a cup of coffee with plain, soy, or almond milk. This combination will trigger the happiness hormone (serotonin) thanks to the magnesium in the dark chocolate, but you won’t be consuming the extra fat of other kinds of chocolates or sweets.

 

The Most Popular Low-Calorie Summer Drink: Smoothie

Recently smoothies have become everyone’s favorite drink. They’re a good alternative beverage, especially for people who are dieting or detoxing, because they have less calories than other beverages and are refreshing in hot weather. Smoothies are favorites for vegans and vegetarians too. And anyone can enjoy smoothies for their joyful colors and refreshing taste.

Smoothies:

  • Are low-calorie
  • Refresh your body
  • Are nourishing
  • Have many antioxidants
  • Are hydrating
  • Are a healthy snack which is easy to prepare
  • Create joyful snack times due to color

5 Tips for Healthier Smoothies

1. Fruit Instead of Sugar

Fruits include a natural form of sugar known as ‘fructose’. Adding fruit to sweeten your smoothie instead of sugar is a good idea. But don’t forget to check the serving sizes for the fruits you’re using.

2.Summer Fruits

In summer we need more water than we drink normally. Summer fruits are perfect to hydrate your body because of their high percentages of water. Adding watermelon to a smoothie is a great choice for summer!

3.Berries and Cherries 

Berries (goji berries, blueberries, acai berries, bilberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc.) and cherries are extremely high in antioxidants. Daily intake can greatly benefit your health, especially in the areas of heart health, cholesterol level, cellular oxidative damage, and many more. Try adding berries and cherries to make your smoothie healthier.

 4.Leafy Green Vegetables

Adding leafy green vegetables such as parsley, fresh mint, and dill makes your smoothie fresher. These kinds of vegetables increase the antioxidant level of your drink and help to reduce the swelling of your body. Also, these are a great choice for women during their periods.

5.Dairy Products

Children and adolescents should be encouraged to consume milk products because they need more calcium for healthy growth. Preparing colorful smoothies with milk can be fun for both parents and children. Many children will be willing to drink milk in their smoothies even they generally don’t like milk.

Also, fermented milk products such as yogurt and kefir help to regulate the digestive system. If you have digestive system problems, try adding kefir to your smoothie. Everyone has their own taste preferences. But with these tips, you can prepare your own smoothie and be more energetic for the day. To conclude, here is Vivoo Nutrition Team’s favorite summer smoothie recipe:

A Summer Recipe: Watermelon Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh watermelon (cubed and black seeds removed)

1 cup kefir (250 ml)

10-12 leaves fresh mint

Instructions:

  • Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy and smooth
  • You can add more kefir to thin, or more strawberries to thicken.
  • Taste and find what needs to be added. You can add lime for acidity, sweetener for sweetness, or watermelon for a more intense watermelon flavor.
  • Serves 2 / Calories for one serving: 140

 

4 Steps For a Healthier Diet

Interest in healthy nutrition and healthy lifestyles is increasing every day. We wonder which is the healthiest diet and Google which foods we should eat or not. But there is a more important point than which foods we eat: How do we cook or prepare them? We always ignore the fact that healthy nutrition demands healthy cuisine. We all have traditions and habits in the kitchen. Although we constantly search for the healthiest diet, we forget to review our kitchen habits.

Step 1 – Supermarket

You are walking down the aisles of the supermarket and looking for the item that you want to buy. While you are walking down, you notice a section where you think you’ll find your item. You start paying more attention to find out where it is exactly. Have you ever noticed that all the products’ places in the store are planned as a sales strategy? The most needed products are located along the back and sides of the supermarket, and it’s necessary to walk down the aisles, which are stocked with junk food and processed products, to get there. Children are targeted by the products located at eye level. All of these strategies aim to produce a high daily sales volume of branded products. It’s a good idea to make a shopping list so as to not forget your main goal. Also, try not to go to the supermarket when you are hungery so as to avoid buying unnecessary junk food. Don’t forget: A healthy diet starts at the supermarket.

Step 2 – Frigde

What Should You Have In the Frigde?

As second step for a healthy life and healthy diet, you should check your frigde.

Try creating a rule with your family or housemates to not stock junk food. It’s a good way of avoiding unhealthy snacks. Also, it helps maintain your motivation to have a healthy diet.

High Sugar

Packaged foods are always the easiest way of snacking, but don’t forget that packaged snacks include high sugar and additives. They are colorful and atractive to children especially, but studies shows that some color additives may be linked to attention deficit in children. Don’t stock junk food! As an alternative to packaged snacks, you can prepare healthy snacks and desserts which have less sugar and no additives.

When it comes to beverages, a good challenge is liberating yourself from sweetened and processed drinks. Quit putting high calorie drinks into your fridge. If you like drinking fruit juice, your priority should be homemade, fresh juices. Also dairy products -such as milk, plant-based milk, and kefir- are healthy alternatives to sugary beverages. Dairy products strengthen your bones and your gut’s microbiota.

High Fat

Sugar is not the only danger in junk food. There is an invisible danger as well: fat. Most snacks include high amounts of fat, which is mostly saturated fatty acids and some trans fats. Avoid stocking high fat snacks such as chips, crackers, frozen pizzas, ice cream, cookies, and cakes.

High Sodium

Drinking a bottle of mineral water per day boosts the micro-nutrient (such as potassium and magnesium) intake. We certainly have micro-nutrient needs, but our sodium needs are so limited. Consuming higher amounts of sodium than we need can negatively impact our fluid and electrolyte balance. Processed meat and canned fish, as well as many other packaged industrial foods such as soup mixes, contain high sodium.

Create a Healthy Fridge!

Fresh vegetables and fruits; unprocessed meat, poultry, and fish; dairy products; homemade healthy snacks; fresh fruit juices; and mineral water are all perfect for your new fridge full of healthy foods.

Step 3 – Kitchen

Lets Take a Look Together at What Is Healthier in the Kitchen

Often we cook food without caring how much oil we put in. Having an awareness about the amount of cooking oil used makes weight control easier. Solid fats include saturated fatty acids which are dangerous for those prone to heart disease. Cooking meals without solid fat helps to regulate cholesterol and provides protection against heart disease. Cooking styles are important for both limiting fat intake and keeping food’s nutritional value. Cooking food in boiling water is the most recommended cooking style by nutritionists. Boiling rather than frying prevents you from taking in more fat than you need. Cooking vegetables for a shorter time is also important so that the vegetables keep their nutritional value. Boiling with less water decreases nutrient loss as well, because food’s nutritional contents escape into the water during the boiling process. To go a step further in retaining your food’s nutritional value, keep and reuse your boiled food’s water. For example you can use it to make a sauce for another dish. Eating fresh foods is another good way to take in nutrients and is benefical for our bodies. If you don’t want to keep a food in your fridge for a long time, be careful about the amount of food that you cook. This will also help you avoid eating more than you need.

Step 4 – Meals

Colorful and Nourishing Meals

After the first three steps, making your meal colorful and nourishing makes a healthy life and diet more joyful and fun. You can accomplish this by preparing colorful salads and adding fermented diary products to your meals. For a healthy meal you should include protein, grains, vegetables, fruits, and dairy. Vegetables and fruits are always the most colorful parts of meals. Don’t forget to consume different kinds of meat such as fish, poultry, and red meat in order to meet your protein needs in your meal. You can also consume legumes as protein. Grains include any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, or barley. If you like eating bread with your meals, it’s best to choose whole grain bread to increase your fiber intake.

One of the most prominent myths about living healthy is that a healthy diet is expensive. These 4 steps break this myth down one by one. It costs little to no money to take these steps. A healthier diet is just four easy steps away!

Gluten-Free Diets Are Good For Weight Loss?

In recent years, with food tolerance tests becoming easier to reach, you may have heard many people saying “I am allergic to gluten. Gluten makes me gain weight”. But what is the truth? Do gluten-free diets help you with losing weight? In regards to this, what is that thing called gluten? A lot of people do not even know what gluten is when doing gluten-free diets.

Gluten is a kind of protein found in barley, oats, and wheat.

The most efficient researches about gluten-free diets are done on celiac disease patients. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease which causes gluten to harm the small intestine. It is a disease seen in one in a hundred. When celiac patients consume gluten the small intestine is harmed and is unable to absorb the nutrients out of foods properly. This causes their immune system to fail in time.

A research done in the United Kingdom in 2013 shows that 69% percent of the underweight people with celiac disease gained weight only after they were “diagnosed with the Celiac Disease”. Also, it has been observed that 18% of the overweight and 42% of the obese people with celiac disease lost weight after they were diagnosed with the disease. However, another study done in 2006 in the United Kingdom shows that 81% of the people who were diagnosed with the celiac disease gained weight.There are many inconsistencies in the studies that have been done, therefore, speaking with any certainty is not possible.Therefore, we can definitively say that gluten-free diet does not guarantee weight loss. It may cause you to lose weight, it may keep you the same, or it may cause you to gain weight…

Gluten-free diet does not mean low-calorie diet.

If it did, all the people with celiac disease would have no problems with their weight. The amount of food you eat is as important as what you eat. If you start eating gluten-free but eat a large portion of cornbread every day, you do not lose weight.

Peter Gibson, who is known for his researches on gluten sensitivity claims that the cause of the problem may not be gluten, but it may be the pesticide used on wheat; glyphosate. According to World Health Organization (WHO) glyphosate may cause depression, diabetes, celiac disease and gluten sensitivity in addition to its possible cancerogenic effects. The most healthy way, of course, is to never use these type of chemicals in agriculture.

Lastly, if you are not gluten sensitive or have the celiac disease, I do not recommend the GLUTEN-FREE diet for the sake of losing weight.