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impact of socio-cultural belief of food choice on female menstruation.
Exploring the impact of socio-cultural belief
of food choice on female menstruation.
• 1) Introduction
• 2) Literature Review
• 3) Research Question
• 4) Hypothesis
• 5) Objectives
• 6) Conceptualization and Operationalization
• 7) Theoretical Framework
• 8) Methodology
• 9) Unit of Analysis
• 10) Universe
• 11) Research Locale
• 12) Sample Size
• 13) Technique for data analysis
• 14) Data interpretation
• 15) Conclusion and recommendation
• 16) References
• Socio-cultural context always has strong influence on the food choices and eating patterns of an
individual in which he/she lives. Traditional beliefs and values associated with different kind of
foods influence the preferences, diet and food choices of individuals and it have a huge influence
on female menstruation.
• The present study was undertaken to assess the impact of different socio-cultural beliefs on the
food choices on female menstruation, from Gilgit baltistan girls, studying in the International
Islamic University Islamabad Pakistan. The sample for the present study comprised of Gbian’s
girls who studying in IIUI Pakistan.
• Using qualitative research method, this study espoused the indepth interview and case study
method.4 interview and 2 case studies are selected from fieldwork.
• The findings of the study revealed that there is strong impact of socio-cultural factors (beliefs
about hot and cold dichotomy of food,local herbs,cultural practices on the menstruation of
Gbians girls,students of IIUI.
1) Aims explore & clear understanding
socio cultural beliefs.
3) Hot and cold dichotomy(Saher et.al 2014)
4) Practice of food intake during menstruation
5) Myths and taboos
6) Capila (2004) and Saher (2014)
Rationale of the study
• Cross culture study
• Emic approach
Themes of review:
Ethno medical practices in Pakistan
Pakistan cultural practices regarding menstruations
Ying Yang theory
Beliefs of ‘Hot’ and ‘Cold’ dichotomy of food
Beliefs of hot and cold dichotomy of food
The beliefs of hot and cold effect of food that is prevail in South
Asia and almost all part of world. It is believe by qualified
Hakeem, doctors, and medical systems which are prevailed in
societies. this classification is based on food quality and its
effect on human body such as Alcohol, beef, onion, chili,
consider as hot food on the other hand dairy product, vegetables,
citrus fruits , tropical consider as cold food. This classification
varies with different cultures , hot and cold attributes of food
perceived contextually. There are myths about food for girls
during menstruation. Some restriction on certain foods during
menstruation such as meet, rice, curd etc.
Ying Yang theory
the original concept of yin yang theory is to understand of nature
Ying Yang nutrition: traditional Chinese TMC believes that
people need eat balance food which is based on hot and cold
food balance. Ying food is referred to cool food according them
this type food moist human body this food high in potassium,
like soy product, fruits watermelon and star fruits vegetables
,cucumber, carrot and cadge crab and duck meet.. Yang food is
warm food is consider higher calories and sodium such as
protein, meet of chicken and beef, egg, rice, sesame oil,
Ethno medical practices in Pakistan
It’s cultural health care beliefs and practices of indigenous people
of a society where people cure their illness and health problems
though local medicine based on plants and herbs. In Pashtus’
tribe in Northern west Pakistan women use green tea, turmeric
and leaves used to preparing medicines for women gynae
problems such as menstrual problems, leucorrhoea, ant fertility
and delivery problems. In rural areas women not go to doctors
due to different reasons like ridged socio culture beliefs, poor
stander of living, and lack of modern facilities.
Pakistani cultural practices regarding menstruation
There are culturally concepts constructed among females
regarding menstruation . Specially which food should intake
and which is avoided during this time. Puerperium is also kind
of menstruation these period women faced after delivery in this
time a healthy diet is very important to healing. they use home
made things like turmeric in multiple ways mix with milk and
A case study which is conducted in Karachi non-school going
girls according their thoughts hot and cold impact of food. They
avoid meat, pickles, cold drinks and carrots, yogurt. they have
beliefs that cold food gain their weight and hot food meat, grams
would be stop the flow of bleeding and egg would increase flow
• How socio cultural beliefs of food influence Gbian’s Girls
• What kind of cultural practices done by Gbian’s adult
girls to minimize menstrual pain ?
Many academicians and researchers conduct research on socio cultural
beliefs and women menstruation and highly focus on populated area like
punjab but there is under published researches are there that emphasize on
menstrual issues ,treatments girls of Gilgit Baltistan so the researchers try
their level best to explore a dynamic perspective, beliefs of food and their
impact on Gbians girls.
To study yin and yang food
among Gbian’s girls?
To explore strategies that
Gbian’s girls minimize their
pain by using different local
To evaluate hot and cold
dichotomy of food influence on
gbians girls menstruation?
To measure precautions used
by Gbians girls during
• The methodology is purely qualitative in nature
• Tool for data collection: In depth interview and case studies are
primary tool for data collection.
• Technique for Data analysis: Interview schedule and case studies
selected for data analysis.
• Sample size: The sample size is 6.
• Locale: Female Campus
• Universe: All females
• Unit of Analysis: Gbians girls are selected as target population.
• Use of local herbs influence effectively in healing of uterus
and vagina among girls of Gilgit Baltistan.
• Maintaining Balance between hot and cold dichotomy of
food create good impact on menstruation of Gbians girls.
The researcher explores two variables that are as
• a. Socio Cultural Beliefs
• b. Female Menstruation:
•a. Socio cultural beliefs: A set of belief,
attitudes, customs, practices and behavior that exist within
• b. Female menstruation: is a normal,
natural female physiological function. A period,
or menstruation, is the shedding of the endometri
um - the lining of the uterus (womb).
Menstruation is also known as menses. Menses
are part of normal sexual health for women during
reproductive age (Christian’s, 2016).
• D.R, Paula Hilliard, professor of obstetrics &
gynecology and pediatrics at the University Of Cincinnati
College Of Medicine, said:
• "The menstrual cycle is a window into the general
health and well-being of women and not just a
• The researcher further
explain the define variable
in his own understanding
to meet the expectation of
audience and to fulfill
requirement of the
Socio cultural belief of food and menstruation
• The socio cultural belief of food are basically the beliefs,
attitude ,behavior toward consumption of particular food
having hot and cold dichotomy with different intensity and
• These beliefs are prevail in different society and in cultures.
however menstruation or, a period is a shedding of endometrial
tissue from the womb that is released through the vagina.
• Women have a period approximately every 28 days; however,
there is some variation in this cycle, ranging from a 24-day to a
35-day cycle. A period is part of the woman's menstrual cycle.
• There is direct relationship between good food and balanced
menstruation. By consuming different food and having different cultural
beliefs of intaking food, females are become so conscious about their
fertility and menstruation.The girls of Gilgit in IIUI consume different kind
of foods to minimize pain and control bleeding.Further more the
researcher explore some indicators to measure the two variables which
are as under:
• 1. Hot and Cold dichotomy of food
• 2. Cultural Practices
• 3. Local herbs
Explanation of Theoretical model:
• These indicators are extract from reviewing the intellectual literature.
• Hot and cold dichotomy of food include traditional Chinese Theory of
Yin and Yang in which women is more conscious of in taking particular
food or diet. For better physical health include healthy womb or uterus or
less menstrual pain girls highly maintain balance between yin and yang
• Herbalism: Herbalism is basically a unit of ethno medicine in which girls
mostly consume different kind of local herbs, plants for healthy uterus
and physical health. Pomegranate cherry, and carrot juice are highly
effective for better health and to increase blood and glucose level in body
so after completion of menstruation cycle girls of Gilgit Baltistan use
seeds, leaves of pomegranate and carrot for healing of intestine, uterus
and maintains of blood level in body.
• Female menstruation is also effected by cultural practices. Every culture has its own
medication and cultural practices (Manderson, 1987).
• Female practice those cultural precaution, procedures, strategies, techniques
which are highly acceptable and comfortable in their own context(Cultural
Relativism) so girls of Gilgit Baltistan mostly recommend hot and cold
dichotomy of food and take bath after 2 days of menstruation cycle. But these
practices vary among girls because they belongs from different region or
districts of Gilgit Baltistan.
• Girls who belongs from rural areas of Gilgit like Hunza, the girls consume milk of
livestock regularly during menstruation however the girls who belongs from towns,
urban area not mostly consume milk regularly during menstruation. They avoid food
having high intensity.
Data interpretation And Findings
Case studies with thematic analysis and Indepth Interviews.
(Hot and Cold dichotomy of food)
• One of my respondent is XYZ who belongs from Hunza Gilgit and studying in IIUI.
She have negative experience with menstruation,she fell extremely ill,less bleeding,
yellow color likoria but extremely pain in her uterus during first day of
menstruation.Some times she become hospitalized.She become fed up from using
biomedicine.After consuming biomedicine,her mother in law recommend her
traditional remedies to cure pain or cure yellow likoria which is considered as
severe.She start to use hot food and avoid cold food during periods.The hot
intensity food include dairy farm products like warm milk,honey,eggs,dry fruits
soup,coconut,cheery and butter and cold food like cold
water,tea,yougart,cream,coriander.She avoid cold food and consume coconut for
controlling pungent smell of likoria, warm dry soup of apricot for internal healing,
warm milk for reducing pain in uterus, eat cherry for increase blood quantity in body
and scientifically it has been proved that consumption of black cheery and
pomegranate increase energy level in body
Case study 2: (Cultural practices)
• One of my respondent is XYZ ,who
belongs from Ganish Hunza,and she is
student of sociology IIUI. She stated that
she feel extremely pain during menses
and she highly belief on her cultural
practices and local herbs(ethno
medicines).She have issue of excessive
bleeding, and pain in first 2 days of
menses. Some time due to excessive
bleeding she face guilt because of
menstruation leads to create pungent
smell, dirt clothes etc.
• Moreover she stated that in winter season month of January one
day at morning time I hold a heavy bucket of water and later on I
feel uncomfortable a small piece of blood excrete from my uterus
and pains starts.At that time I become scared and I told to my
mother. My mother start to treat in a very traditional way. First my
mother take a rough leather and put ashes without coal fire from
the stove and cover it in leather piece..and put that cover leather
ashes on my upper side of uterus approximately for 20 minutes
and I feel relaxed. Next day my mother give me paste of turmeric
which was only mix with warm water. and told me to apply this
paste over the external vagina and get steam with hot water.I do
what my mother guide me. When the steam vapours mix with
warm paste that was apply on outer side of uterus I feel calm..I
revise this practice thrice time. And I become cure
• However when I came here I feel pain
due to unhygienic food during
menstruation I only use herbs
‘supandur’’.The herb which is put on fire
and inhale the smell of that particular
plant. The belief behind using of
supandur or shrub is purification of body
soul from any kind of dirt and it is
considered as sacred and it is only get
from mountainous area where fairies live
their life’s. The researcher tried his level
best to view the cultural aspect, practices
of menstruation in a particular context
with help of Gbians girls(Cultural
• part A
• Q1. What do you know about hot and cold intensity food ?
• Q2.What kind of experience you face after consuming different herbs?
• Q3.Why girls recommend cultural practices to minimize menstrual pain.
Share your experience
• Q4.Do you belief in Traditional Chinese medicine(Yin and yang) if yes
then explain your experience
• Q5.What will you consume food instead of spicy food that will give you
relaxation during menstruation
• Q1.Do you consume cold drinks during menstruation?If yes then explain the
• Q2.Do you have any home remedies to minimize menstrual pain ?If yes then
• Q3.Do you have any kinds of menstruation taboos or beliefs prevail regarding foods
for girls and women in your culture?if yes then broadly explain.
• Q4. Any kind of food or vegetable which is not allowed to consume during
• Q1 Do you take any medicines or multi vitamins during menstruation ?
• Q2.Which is most popular remedy in your culture regarding menstruation and why
girls use it ?
• Q3.Do you believe in Taseer (affects) of foods for girls? if yes then why you believe
in Taseer (affects) of foods for girls?
• Q4.Do you believe that use of turmeric with milk will minimize your menstrual
pain?If yes then share your experience?
• Q5.Does use of green tea and turmeric with milk will minimize your menstrual pain
or excessive bleeding?If yes Share your experience.
• Interview analysis :1
• Age 22
• My respondent no 1 share her experience with me according to her food like
dry fruits, eggs, are hot intensity foods, during her menstrual cycle she avoids
taking cold intensity foods like curd etc she prefers to consume desi ghee, milk
eggs etc to have a normal painless cycle she said that in her area there are some
sacred shrubs, used after menstruation which they put on fire, and inhale their
smoke , which according to them purifies their bodies .. they consume
pomegranate extracts and carrot juice to stabilize the iron levels in body which is
being lost during menses and its also being scientifically proven She further
describes that there are cultural practices like consumption of sheep milk with
herbal extracts and ashes wraps are practiced to ease menstrual cramps and
pain. She also says that in their area they keep balance in both cold and hot
intensity foods during their cycles. Spicy foods are considered bad for health;
sour foods are also not preferred. A specific apricot soup which is made of wheat
and apricot which is used to reduce pain in menstrual cycle. She consumes
multivitamins and folic acid during her cycle.
Interview analysis 2
• Age 21
• My respondent no 2 share her experience with me according to her
honey ,fish, castor oil are hot intensity foods, during her menstrual
cycle she avoids taking yogurt, cold water etc. she prefer to
consume herbs like carrot seeds, ajwain, it helps in easing
menstrual cramps and provide relief from pain. she prefer to
consume dry dates with hot milk which in reduces menstrual pain
• she believes in Chinese medical system and have their own beliefs
and experiments she feels that there should be a balance between
both hot and cold intensity in food excessive amount will effects
body in a bad way. food like chicken stock helps in soothing pain
during menstruation. during menstruation she use ajwain extract
with desi ghee which help to reduce the pain and maintain
bleeding. the people living in gilgit baltistan will not encourage
spicy food.she takes folic acid and omega 3 capsules which
provide energy to the body, in her point of view and experience
turmeric, milk, green tea provide relation to muscles and soothing
effect to the body and minimize the pain.
Interview analysis 3
• Age 22
• Respondent no 3, from gilgit baltistan shares her experience.
According to her consumption of high intensity foods helps in
regulation of blood flow during menstruation, they help in easing pain
and relief from cramps. Foods like egg,stocks,fish etc helps with
cramps and its necessary to avoid low intensity foods such as curd,
cold water, coriander etc cause they cause pain in lower abdomen
and makes periods more painful. She told me about remedies used for
menstrual pain such as aniseed boiled in milk, its consumption helps
with cramps and bloating during menses. Food which causes gas and
bloating such as spicy foods are avoided. Turmeric and jiggery with
hot water is also consumed.
Respondent no 4
• A respondent from GB shares her experience as she
states, that she belongs to GB, cold region she
consume dry fruits, nuts, hot intensity foods during
her cycle and avoid cold items. Use of teas and herbs in
increased as compare to normal days. Soups are
consumed In large amounts. Butter and fish is also
consumed. Sour foods such as tamarind , pickles and
lemon are avoided. Multivitamins like folic acid and
pain reliever such as panadol and poniston are also
used. Red and green chilies are avoided consumption
of turmeric is increased
• It has been concluded that in every society cultural beliefs
are prevail and it have its own cultural significance. Cultural
belief of food choice is important to explore the important
factors behind menstruation. Menstruation in females is a
natural phenomena and it significance can be address
through hot and cold dichotomy of food,theory of yin and
yang, ethnomedicine,herbalism and cultural practices of
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