What To Eat For PMS Relief
Being a woman isn’t always easy, especially when it comes to having your period.
Common symptoms associated with this time of month include: bloating, irritability, cramping, fatigue, tender breasts and fluctuating bowels. Though we’re resilient enough to endure these symptoms on top of work, family and other responsibilities, we don’t have to struggle. Various lifestyle and dietary changes can help us manage fluctuating hormones and reduce the severity of PMS.
Here we’ll discuss what you can incorporate into your diet at least 2 weeks before you start bleeding and while you are menstruating:
Vitamin B6 is involved in the production of various feel good neurotransmitters like serotonin. This can be helpful in managing emotional symptoms like depression and anxiety related to PMS.
B6 also acts as a diuretic and can help reduce the likelihood of breast tenderness and bloating caused by water retention.
Try incorporating foods like avocado, banana, sweet potato, sunflower seeds, turkey, beef and nutritional yeast into your diet.
Low calcium levels can exacerbate symptoms related to mental health and cramping during your time of month. This is because calcium affects neurotransmitter release and muscle contractions. Supplementing with just 500mg of calcium has been studied to be effective in reducing the severity of those symptoms.
You can start by increasing your calcium intake with certain foods and seeing how you feel. Sesame seeds, chia seeds, almonds, plain yogurt and fish with bones like salmon or sardines are rich sources of calcium.
Magnesium regulates blood sugar and insulin levels. Therefore it can help with common PMS cravings like sugary and carbohydrate rich food. Magnesium also relaxes nerves and muscles, meaning it can reduce anxiety and muscle cramping associated with PMS too.
Pumpkin seeds, quinoa, black beans, swiss chard, spinach, plantain and cacao powder are easy ways to add more magnesium into your diet.
Omega 3 fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body can reduce symptoms related to inflammation like cramping and headaches.
Omega 3 fats have also been studied to reduce psychiatric symptoms like anxiety, depression and lack of concentration too.
Try incorporating omega 3 rich foods like salmon, trout, grass fed meats, flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts into your diet.
Most women are aware of the term “period poops”. It’s common for women’s bowels to become irregular during their time of month. This is because higher levels of progesterone days prior to your period can slow down bowel motility and cause constipation, but when bleeding begins, prostaglandins that cause uterine contractions can also affect nearby organs like your digestive tract, causing loose bowels in return.
You can play around with different types of fiber to help manage your symptoms of either constipation or diarrhea. Try incorporating more insoluble fiber into your diet with foods like nuts, seeds, green beans and cruciferous vegetables to relieve constipation. To reduce loose bowels and slow down digestion you can add more soluble fiber into your diet with foods like oatmeal, oat bran, beans and apples.
Iron is a mineral that plays an important role in energy and mental health, low levels can lead to fatigue, anxiety and depression. When we bleed we also lose iron, so it’s important to restore lost iron through diet, especially if you have a very heavy period.
When you’re bleeding, add iron rich foods like beef, lamb, chicken thighs, cacao, raisins and spinach into your diet.
Peppermint is an antispasmodic and muscle relaxant. Drinking peppermint tea is an easy way to ease cramping and reduce bloating.
Try putting together various food combinations with what's been listed above and see what works for you! If you want to dive deeper into why you might be having extreme pain around your period and what else you can do to balance your hormones I recommend booking a free nutrition consult.