It is not a secret that what we eat affects our bodies. One of the most common pieces of advice on almost any health-related issue is to begin our recovery by changing our diet to a healthier, more nutrient rich and nourishing one. The quality of our diet determines our level of strength, stamina, the resiliency of our immune system, and even our mental capacity and emotional wellbeing. The intensity of PMS is not unaffected by what we put in our bodies, and there are certain foods that can actually help alleviate the symptoms.
Introduce more fresh, raw veggies in your diet. Don’t wait until you feel the symptoms of PMS, menstrual cramps or exhaustion to improve your diet. A healthy diet all year round will give great benefits to your overall health, not just PMS.
Avoid too much fat and sugar. They are known to aggravate PMS, and they have so many other negative effects on your health that it is better to try and stay away from them as much as possible.
Does coffee or tea make you feel irritable at times? How about smoking, alcohol or sugar? Keep clear of all stimulants, especially the ones that you know have an exceptionally big effect on your mood.
The Dairy Paradox
Calcium is one of the nutrients that have been extensively researched for their PMS alleviating properties. It has been found that it can greatly help with easing the symptoms, and it is a recommended addition to a woman’s diet at any age because of its many benefits. Calcium’s impact on the body has led to the conclusion that high consumption of dairy products is also beneficial. Even though it is true that dairy products are the richest sources of Calcium, they also contain fats, lactose and many allergens that can actually make PMS symptoms worse.
So how do we get enough Calcium from dairy without risking aggravating PMS? Low-fat yogurt is the answer. When milk is fermented into yogurt, lactose (a sugar) is transformed into lactic acid, live probiotic bacteria cultures are added and allergens are minimized, making yogurt an excellent immune boosting, calcium-rich food that benefits the whole body.
Sipping Tea in the Sun
We need vitamin D in order to absorb Calcium. Sunlight has incredible Vitamin D boosting properties, so why not take advantage of a nice sunny day? Grab a thermos with your favorite herbal tea and spend some time outdoors. Lemon Balm, Chamomile, Lavender, Peppermint, and Vervain are all herbs famous for their soothing properties, such as reducing stress and anxiety, helping with migraines and headaches and relieving irritability. Fennel is another great balancing herb that can be used not only for its benefits to the nervous system, but also because of its positive effects on the female hormones.
The Salt (and Water) of Life
If water retention is one of your symptoms, try reducing, or if possible eliminating, salt from your diet, since salt encourages bloating. The body needs some sodium to stay hydrated, and foods rich in minerals, such as vegetables provide more than enough to cover our daily needs. Added salt is often unnecessary, and can harm the body.
At the same time increase your water intake. Even though it seems like a paradox, drinking more water is the best way to get rid of excessive fluids in your body, and it helps you keep hydrated at the same time. Remember that “water pills” actually dehydrate you and work against your body rather than with it. Water retention is not a sign of too much hydration, but actually one of the body’s coping mechanisms to fight dehydration. Irritability, headaches and fatigue are common signs of dehydration, so make sure you give your body what it needs to get through PMS and menstruation.
Vitamin B – The Stress Killer
Vitamin B is also known as the stress killer, and it is one of the nervous system’s best friends. It can help keep you calmer, reduce anxiety, it gives you more energy and helps balance your hormones. Before going for a Vitamin B supplement, try adding more Vitamin B rich foods in your diet. The most common food sources of Vitamin B are oats, barley, wheat bran, avocados, salmon, Brazil nuts, eggs, brown rice, berries and sweet corn.
It doesn’t take radical lifestyle changes to improve PMS and your overall health. By making some small modifications in what you eat, you can enjoy a much better quality of life and avoid any disruptions that PMS might cause to your everyday schedule.
Begin to monitor your diet and see how it affects your energy, mood, and PMS symptoms. Let us know what you discover.