Foods That Fight PMS Symptoms
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) has long been a source of concern (and discomfort!) for women the world over for centuries. For some, it is a dreaded time that is expected a week or two before getting their period, and for others it is just a mild annoyance to be endured. Either way you might be experiencing it, the good news is, that there are things that you can do to alter your diet that can help relieve some of these problems and possibly it is all you need to do to eliminate them from your life. And who wouldn’t want that?!
What are PMS symptoms?
PMS symptoms can run the gamut of severe symptoms that cause you to have to miss out on life until they subside, to very mild and barely noticeable. Studies have shown that the great majority of sufferers claim that they have at least some feeling of bloating, excessive moodiness, and a range of headaches-mild to severe. Other symptoms might include menstrual cramping, joint pain, tender/swollen breasts, and general fatigue. A typical and popular way of handling these problems is by taking the conventional medical approach in trying to eradicate temporarily the discomforts of PMS. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen are popular as are pain relievers like Acetaminophen. However, relying on these symptom maskers can, over time, wreak havoc on your gastrointestinal walls and cause liver damage. Although they do alleviate your problems for a time, the next month you are back in the same situation again only to have to repeat the course and potentially do more damage. But this doesn’t have to be the only choice. There are great ways to manage PMS through a variety of good dietary choices.
Diet can effect PMS severity.
Your hormones are the culprit and the determining factor in the severity of your symptoms. And those hormone changes have an effect on your digestion that tends to have you craving some of the very foods that will exacerbate the problems of PMS long term. What do the great majority of PMS sufferers crave? Sugary, fatty, and salty foods which might give some temporary pleasure, but will prolong the agony in the long run. How? Salt has a tendency to make water retention worse. Swelling of the hands and feet, bloating, and breast tenderness is all symptoms stemming from water retention. Another typical symptom around this time is having loose bowel movements and high-sugar, high-fat foods can increase this problem. Even artificial sweeteners should be avoided because those can overstress the colon and can lead to increased cramping.
What foods to embrace.
- Foods high in calcium have been known to help with cramping-but not too much. It is also known to cause constipation if used excessively. Foods that are high in calcium include but are not limited to dairy, sunflower seeds, spinach, black-eyed peas, almonds, figs, white beans, kale, tofu, and sardines.
- Foods with a high water content is a wonderful, natural diuretic and are helpful when battling with water retention and bloating. Of course, keeping your water intake up during this time helps as well. Sipping on hot, green tea is soothing as well as beneficial. Here are some high water content choices: watermelon, grapefruit, celery, strawberry, cucumber, iceburg lettuce, melons, and tomato.
- Foods with Omega-3 fat contain anti-inflammatory fatty acids that help curb menstrual pain. Here is what to look for in this category: Flaxseed, Chia seeds, salmon, oysters, walnuts, and soybeans.
- Look for foods high in B vitamins which have been found to relieve cramping symptoms. Look to add more poultry, beans, lamb, liver, grass-fed beef, feta cheese, and eggs.
What foods to avoid
- Caffeine is very dehydrating which is the opposite of what you want.
- Alcohol has been known to worsen cramping.
- Sugar/high fructose corn syrup
- Bad fats (trans and hydrogenated)
- Foods that are allergens for you. These should always be avoided.
As you can see, the foods that will help you most in diminishing severe PMS are essentially the same ones that will keep you fit and healthy throughout. But a slip now and then is only to be human. No need to beat yourself up for it. A little dark chocolate now and again can be good for the psychological symptoms. What have you found that works best for you? We’d like to hear about it.