Whether it’s mood swings, bad cramps, irritability, or those terrible food and sugar cravings, symptoms of PMS are no fun.
For many women, it disrupts their daily functioning and puts a damper on their ability to deal with day to day life, and the fact that it comes around again every month makes it especially difficult to cope with.
If this sounds like you, check out these four things that you can do to try to reduce your symptoms of PMS:
- Eat Phytoestrogens – Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring chemicals in food that act like estrogen (i.e. phytoestrogen = fake estrogen). When we have these in our blood stream, the body thinks there is estrogen present, and hence secretes less. Because an imbalance in hormones is often at the root of PMS, having less estrogen present may help reduce PMS symptoms. You can find phytoestrogens in foods such as organic tofu, wheat germ, ground flaxseed, oats and alfalfa sprouts.
- Cut out sugar – As if you hadn’t heard enough about the negative effects of sugar, it likely has an impact on your experience of PMS as well. More specifically, sugar impacts the hormone balance and regulation in the body due to the fact that it spikes our insulin levels. When insulin spikes, the hormone that is typically released to bind excess estrogen is not released in normal amounts, hence allowing extra estrogen to remain in the blood stream. As we talked about above, this imbalance, can then lead to symptoms of PMS.
- Increase your fiber – When the body has too many hormones present in the bloodstream, this can lead to symptoms of PMS. In order to reduce these symptoms, we need to get rid of the excess hormones, or reduce the amount that is released. The liver metabolizes hormones and passes them on to be eliminated. Once they are on the path to elimination, they need to bind to fiber to help carry them through the large intestine to be removed. Increase your intake of fiber through things like beans and legumes, leafy greens, vegetables and whole grain carbohydrates to help push out the metabolized hormones.
- Boost your magnesium – Magnesium is a key player in the health and functioning of the adrenal glands. These glands are part of the endocrine system, which is the system that controls the hormones within your body. Part of the issue with PMS, for certain individuals, may be poor hormonal control, in that hormones are not being released at the right time, in the right amounts, or appropriately in sync with each other. When this happens, the effects they elicit are not what they are supposed to be, and PMS symptoms can be the result. Increase your magnesium through things like raw cacao, leafy greens, sweet potato and baobab powder, and take the first step in looking after your endocrine system.
By: Laura Peill, RHN, BScH – Viand Nutrition