Dietary changes to tackle PMS naturally
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to a group of physical and emotional symptoms that many women experience in the days or weeks leading up to their menstrual period. Some common symptoms include mood changes, bloating, breast tenderness, cramping, and fatigue. While PMS can be difficult to manage, making certain dietary changes may help alleviate some of the symptoms.
Here are some dietary tips that may be helpful in fighting PMS:
- Increase your intake of calcium and vitamin D
Low levels of calcium have been linked to PMS symptoms such as cramping, mood swings, and irritability. Calcium can also help promote better sleep, which can be helpful for women with PMS who experience insomnia.
Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with an increased risk for PMS symptoms, such as breast tenderness and mood swings. Vitamin D can also help reduce inflammation, which can be beneficial for reducing PMS symptoms such as bloating and headaches.
Some good food sources of calcium include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and fortified foods like orange juice and cereal.
Many women do not get enough calcium and vitamin D from their diet alone, so supplementation may be necessary. The recommended daily intake of calcium for women aged 19-50 years is 1,000 milligrams per day, while the recommended daily intake of vitamin D is 600-800 international units (IU) per day.
- Eat more complex carbohydrates:
Complex carbohydrates, such as those found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, can help alleviate some of the symptoms of PMS by stabilizing blood sugar levels.
During the premenstrual period, fluctuations in hormones can cause changes in insulin sensitivity, which can result in unstable blood sugar levels. This can lead to cravings for sugar and simple carbohydrates, which can worsen PMS symptoms like mood swings and fatigue.
By consuming complex carbohydrates instead of simple carbohydrates, women with PMS can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce these cravings. Complex carbohydrates are digested more slowly than simple carbohydrates, which can help keep blood sugar levels stable and prevent spikes and crashes.
- Reduce your caffeine intake
Reducing caffeine intake can help alleviate some of the symptoms of PMS, such as irritability, anxiety, and breast tenderness. This is because caffeine is a stimulant that can increase heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels, which can worsen PMS symptoms.
Caffeine can also disrupt sleep, which can further exacerbate PMS symptoms like fatigue and mood swings. Additionally, caffeine can contribute to dehydration, which can worsen symptoms like bloating and headaches.
- Incorporate healthy fats into your diet
Incorporating healthy fats into the diet can help alleviate some of the symptoms of PMS by promoting hormone balance and reducing inflammation.
Healthy fats, such as those found in nuts, seeds, avocados, and fatty fish like salmon, are essential for the production of hormones in the body. Hormonal imbalances can contribute to PMS symptoms, such as mood swings, headaches, and fatigue. By consuming healthy fats, women with PMS can help promote hormone balance and reduce these symptoms.
- Eat Iron-rich foods
Eating iron-rich foods can help ease PMS symptoms, particularly fatigue and low energy levels.
Iron is an essential nutrient that is necessary for the production of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. Low levels of iron can lead to anemia, which can cause symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath. Many women experience iron deficiency anemia during their menstrual cycle, which can worsen PMS symptoms.
Eating iron-rich foods, such as red meat, poultry, fish, lentils, spinach, and tofu, can help increase iron levels in the body and alleviate these symptoms.
It's important to note that dietary changes alone may not completely eliminate PMS symptoms, but they may help make them more manageable. If you're struggling with severe PMS symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider about other treatment options.