How to combat PMS

(Health Secrets) Life hands women enough tasks without bogging them down with PMS!  During this unfortunate time, women’s stores of calcium, magnesium, and iron become depleted which worsens symptoms.  However with the right foods, you can help combat and even suppress PMS symptoms.

What is premenstrual syndrome (PMS)?

PMS occurs when hormone levels become unbalanced due to insufficient production of progesterone near the end of the menstrual cycle.  PMS is most noted by these symptoms: nausea, bloating, irritability, food cravings, constipation and headaches. PMS symptoms can be so severe for some women that social, family and work activities are disrupted. The most effective way to rebalance hormones and avoid PMS is by using natural progesterone cream during the last half of your cycle. It is available at health food stores and needs no prescription. If you don’t want to do that, try these dietary changes that may bring some relief.

Eating to alleviate symptoms

The key minerals for PMS symptoms are iron, calcium, and magnesium. Low iron levels increase the risk of anemia. Low calcium levels can lead to heightened mood disturbances, cramping, and bloating. And magnesium works with calcium to preserve bone density during this time.  Iron is especially important and it is recommended that adult women get 18mg of iron daily (tip: eat a food high in vitamin C in the same meal as iron for better absorption)

Good sources of iron include dark leafy vegetables, meat, eggs, seafood, legumes, fortified cereals, whole grains, and nuts and seeds.

Good sources of calcium include yogurt (especially Greek yogurt), cheese and milk, dark green vegetables, and tofu.

Good sources of magnesium include leafy greens, legumes, whole grains, poultry and meat, eggs, nuts, and milk.

In addition to keeping your levels up of these key minerals and foods, eating pineapple has been found to be helpful as well.  Fresh pineapple contains bromelain, an anti-inflammatory enzyme that not only help you beat PMS but also reduces the risk of blood clots.

Watch the food cravings

It is okay to eat the occasional piece of chocolate during this time to satisfy the sweet tooth, but too much chocolate can make cramps worse by disrupting blood sugar levels.  When craving sweets, it’s best to avoid the sugary treats and have complex carbohydrates such as whole grain breads and vegetables.
It is recommended to avoid caffeine and alcohol during this time as well because these can worsen symptoms and discomfort.

Putting the food together: Meal suggestions

Breakfast

  • Scrambled eggs with whole wheat toast (peanut butter optional); or make an egg sandwich!
  • Greek yogurt with almonds and blueberries.
  • Whole grain cereal with milk and fresh fruit.

Lunch

  • Spinach salad (or dark leaf Romaine) with Chicken/Steak/Salmon, Tomatoes, and bell peppers.
  • Turkey Sandwich on whole wheat bread with lettuce and tomato, side of pineapple with cottage cheese.

Dinner

  • Stir Fry Chicken or pork, spinach, tomatoes, pineapple, green beans and bell peppers.
  • Grilled or broil chicken and eat with green beans or peas, and brown rice.
  • Pineapple with cottage cheese salad followed by a whole grain side and a serving of meat or poultry.
  • Whole wheat pasta with vegetables

Snacks

  •  Greek yogurt
  •  Almonds/Nuts/Seeds
  •  Pineapple and cottage cheese
  •  Cheese and whole wheat crackers
  •  Homemade kidney bean salad
  •  Hummus (chickpeas) with whole grain crackers

 

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