Nutritional Tips to Conquer PMS
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a not-so-fun time that affects millions of women. It’s caused by having an imbalance in hormone levels and can manifest physically as tender breasts, headaches and cramps. It can also even impact the ‘feel-good’ chemicals in your brain (serotonin) trigger stress hormones, increase fluid retention and interfere with your blood sugar balance.
Luckily, it’s not completely out of your control. Being aware of your nutrition gives you the ability to take simple steps to help regulate your hormones, thus reducing some of these uncomfortable symptoms.
In the second half of your cycle, keeping your estrogen and progesterone levels in good balance can help prevent and reduce PMS. To do this, it helps to eliminate excess estrogens building up in your system. This can happen earlier on in your cycle when you’re producing an egg, and it can also be caused by environmental estrogens you are inadvertently consuming (via foods like soy or even plastics.) Your liver and bowel movements are vital to getting rid of excess estrogens.
If your bowel movements become slow or you get constipated, you may have more food retention, mood and bloating issues leading up to your period. Avoiding constipating foods such as chocolate, bananas, dairy products, sticky rice, and an excess of grains can help keep your estrogen levels at bay. If you back up easily, consuming foods high in fiber like kale can help promote more consistent bowel movements. Drinking more water and warm purple teas such as nettle are also effective. Another trick you can utilize is to put a spoonful of chia seeds into water until it gels and then drink it before bedtime. Avoiding certain foods can also provide some relief from PMS. For example, eating less salt can help decrease bloating and fluid build-up. Cutting down on caffeine and alcohol helps prevent disrupted sleep.
Some vitamins and minerals can also reduce your risk of developing PMS and can help treat certain symptoms. Calcium eases mood swings, headaches and bloating. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. Magnesium regulates serotonin levels, which helps with mood. It can also reduce bloating and breast tenderness. Vitamin B6 helps the body use serotonin, which can ease depression.
Nutrition can play a vital role in easing, preventing and managing uncomfortable PMS symptoms. Be sure to consult with your doctor to discuss your options before making any major changes to your diet.
Yes, you can manage your PMS with Diet and nutrition. Premier Health. (n.d.). Retrieved April 1, 2022, from https://www.premierhealth.com/your-health/articles/women-wisdom-wellness-/yes-you-can-manage-your-pms-with-diet-and-nutrition
5 nutrition tips for when PMS strikes. Nuffield Health. (n.d.). Retrieved April 1, 2022, from https://www.nuffieldhealth.com/article/5-nutrition-tips-for-when-pms-strikes