many women experience the physical and
emotional symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). This may include
abdominal cramps, anxiety, depression, bloating, breast tenderness,
craving, and mood swings.
While PMS is a fact of many women’s lives, no medication can
entirely relieve the suffering of PMS. But knowing which foods
to eat and which foods to avoid
can help to make menstruation easier and prevent PMS.
Certain foods when eaten can help to relieve the
severity of symptoms associated with PMS and some foods when unrestricted have a
A healthy diet which includes complex carbohydrates - whole-grain
breads, cereals, pasta, potatoes, beans, rice, and whole grains
helps to regulate blood
sugars eliminate sugar cravings.
Fresh vegetables such as kale, collards, mustard greens, carrots,
turnips, parsnips, broccoli, Brussels sprouts are high in nutrients
that reduce PMS-related blood sugar and mood swings, and Fruits such
as apples and pears contain fibre and less sugar all help ease heavy
menstrual bleeding and premenstrual symptoms.
cramping and muscular contractions which can occur as PMS can be
relieved by eating high calcium
foods such as Broccoli, Black Beans, Navy Beans, whole grain cereals,
soybeans, spinach, bok choy, kale, corn, fish, tofu, almonds and
oysters. Note that milk is
not a good source of calcium, if will undermine your health.
Magnesium enables the body to absorb the Calcium.
Mood swings and food cravings are also known to be alleviated by
magnesium which facilitates the absorption of calcium. Green
vegetables such as spinach are good sources of magnesium as are legumes (beans and
peas), nuts and seeds, and whole unrefined grains. Try eating spinach, avocados, barley, oysters,
pumpkin seeds, tofu, halibut, broccoli, bell peppers, brussels
sprouts, citrus fruits, cranberry juice and cantaloup, mackerel,
spinach, rice bran, sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, buckwheat and almonds.
Vitamin B6 helps relieve premenstrual cravings.
Its often taken as a supplement to reduce depression, relieve
cravings, fatigue, mood swings, fluid retention and bloating during
periods. Foods rich in vitamin B6, include fish, tuna, chicken,
turkey, pork, brown rice, barley, soy foods, broccoli, sweet
potatoes, bananas, avocados, mangoes, cantaloupe, sunflower seeds,
and spinach. , fatigue, mood
swings, fluid retention and bloating, are found in fish, eggs, nuts,
bananas, potatoes, and the white meat of turkey and chicken.
Low zinc levels in women prone to PMS suggest that a diet rich
in this important mineral may prevent PMS symptoms. Leading food
source of zinc include barley, wheat, crab, oysters, beef, lamb,
chicken and turkey.
Premenstrual stress can be alleviated by eating
foods rich in Vitamin C and taking vitamin C as a supplement.
Vitamin C is in most fresh fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin E can alleviate the premenstrual symptoms of anxiety and
depression, It's often taken as a supplement to reduce
breast tenderness, nervousness, depression, headache, fatigue, and
insomnia. Vitamin E can be taken as a supplement and is found in
broccoli, almonds, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, peanuts, safflower
oil, corn oil, olive oil, mangoes, avocadoes, apples, and
A healthy diet with a normal eating routine helps overall good
Besides diet, regular exercise and relaxation decreases premenstrual
symptoms. Vitamin supplements or herbal preparations offer relief for many women experiencing menstrual
Foods to restrict are:
There are certain foods to avoid because they exacerbate the
symptoms of PMS. These include:
Sodium (salt - sodium chloride)
Salt is essential for the maintenance of human life, it controls the amount of
water within our bodies, maintains the relationship between
cells and body fluids and aids in the contraction of muscle
tissue and is a vital ingredient of blood plasma and
At the same time, it is important to remember that excessive salt
can be fatal and it is commonly used as a preservative. Medical research has
shown that a healthy adult requires an intake of about ten grams of salt per day.
However much of the salt sold today is pure sodium chloride, fresh
sea salt may be a better option as it contains many other
minerals that are also needed by our bodies.
Excess salt can:
Alter levels of estrogen during a woman’s
- Cause water retention leading to PMS-related
- Cause breast tenderness and headaches.
- Affect heart and circulation
Processed foods, fast foods and snack foods contain high levels of
Sugar is in many of
our foods which affects our health in many ways. Sweets, candy and sugar can cause:
- mood swings
- hypoglycaemia - imbalanced blood sugar levels
- heart disease
- weight gain - excess sugar is stored in the body as fat.
While we need sugar, sugar is naturally in our diet when it
includes complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, pasta, rice,
cereals and beans. So to counter cravings for sweet sugary
foods, eat complex carbohydrates such as pasta, rice, beans,
cereals, and whole grains.
Rich and Fatty foods
These are more difficult for the body to process especially when
the body is stressed, and they contribute to weight gain and depression
especially when combined with sugar. In effect they congest the
inner body and limit the ability of the body and reproductive
system to function normally.
stimulating social drug which unfortunately for women elevates the risk of PMS, breast and ovarian cancer and fibroid tumors.
Excess caffeine can:
- Elevate oestrogen levels
- Cause or aggravate breast tenderness
- Cause tension, headaches and irritability
- Caffeine is found in tea, coffee, colas, chocolate and some medications
Cutting down or eliminating caffeine, which is found in tea, coffee,
colas and chocolate, relieves breast tenderness during many a
Alcohol is well known for causing premenstrual depression and
headaches, it also thins blood and should be avoided as during
menstruation, it can cause excessive bleeding.
Most women at some time experience PMS and for many it can a
persistent health problem which can last many years. Nutritional supplements will often restore
normality to a woman's cycle and recovery is helped by restricting
specific foods and exercising.
Functional Whole foods
Certain foods when eaten can help to relieve the
severity of symptoms associated with PMS and some foods when
restricted have a positive outcome.
Menstruation and Culture
Girl with a One-track Mind: Confessions of the Seductress Next Door