Foods that fight PMS

By: May 25, 2011

What to eat and what to avoid before and while your monthly friend is in town.

Premenstrual Syndrome is no laughing matter for most women, despite the unsympathetic jokes about mood swings and cravings. The huge hormonal surges and irrational thoughts can catch you by surprise and overwhelm you, making it impossible to function in a normal way, every single month.

There are a few ways to relieve symptoms. Treatment with natural medicines can be beneficial, as can a boost of vitamins and minerals around that time of the month.  Extra weight can lead to worse symptoms, and exercise is said to help with symptoms; as is relaxation.

But what about your diet? Is there anything else you can do to help you through those dreadful days?  Well, the good news is apparently the body needs 500 extra calories per day when you have your period, so healthy snacks are encouraged.  And we’re not talking a box of Oreo’s and a bag of potato chips! Nuts, seeds, fresh fruit, smoothies, anything with calcium will help you through and bulk up your calorie intake.

The other rule is not to skip meals.  If you do, it’s not as though it is going to help at all with any bloating, irritability, headaches or cramps – it’s going to exacerbate the problem.  Sometimes you won’t feel like eating, but do try to eat small, regular meals for optimum benefit.  The usual rules that apply come into force: lower the salt intake, cut back on refined sugar, and junk food – but what other specific changes can be made to help you through those tiring few days?

You need to up those vitamins, particularly B and E.  Vitamin B is found in many every day foods, such as chicken, eggs or sweet potatoes, as well as bananas, whole grain and beans. Vitamin E can be found in brown rice, whole wheat pasta, nuts, seeds and oily fish – nourishing, healthy fare that will alleviate your PMS symptoms at the same time.  Potassium is another supplement that you may want to “up” during this time. 

Your body at this time of the month is basically under a lot of stress already – so why make it worse? While it makes sense to cut down on alcohol and smoking when you are under stress, you must also remember the harmful effects of caffeine – you don’t need to cut it out – but cut it down.  These evil three have the double whammy of upsetting your essential hormone balances too, so they really are trouble.

The good news is – don’t ignore the chocolate cravings!  A little of what you fancy does you good, but why not try the fair trade whole chocolate, made from real cocoa beans  instead of the 500g giant bar! And enjoy it too – you deserve it!