Posted on by Paula Gallagher
Almost 90% of women say they experience PMS symptoms at some point in their lifetime. PMS (premenstrual syndrome) is the name of a group of physical, emotional and psychological symptoms that occur in the last 2 weeks of the menstrual cycle, just before menses. Sometimes PMS symptoms can be so debilitating that they can impact quality of life and the ability to do normal activities.
While it's normal to have some minor discomfort before your period, severe PMS symptoms such as anxiety, moodiness, irritability, pain, bloating, acne and headaches may be alerting you to some internal imbalances. While it's not known what causes PMS, it is likely that changing hormone levels and brain chemistry play a role. Diet, activity level and stress may also be related to the severity of symptoms.
1. Eat More Whole Foods
Proper diet and nutrition are can be a factor in underlying hormonal imbalances and nutritional deficiencies of PMS. Load your diet up with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, herbs, nuts and seeds. Try to avoid processed foods and eat as organically as possible. It has been shown that vegetarian women have much less circulating free estrogen in their blood than non-vegetarian women, potentially decreasing PMS. Adding fermented soy products such as tofu, tempeh and miso may help with PMS due to their hormone-balancing phytonutrients.
2. Reduce Sugar Intake
Excessive consumption of highly refined sugar can deplete valuable reserves of chromium, magnesium, zinc, manganese and B vitamins. These nutrients are necessary for the metabolism of sugar. Sugar also worsens symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), especially premenstrually, resulting in symptoms of irritability, poor concentration, sugar cravings and headaches. Magnesium deficiency can also make you crave sugar, so make sure you are getting enough of this important mineral.
3. Watch Your Salt
If water retention is a problem, restrict your use of salt. Also, increase your intake of potassium, found in fresh fruits and vegetables. A high intake of salt and low intake of potassium can lead to symptoms such as water retention and high blood pressure.
4. Decrease Caffeine
Restrict caffeine-containing products such as coffee, soft drinks, chocolate and even some pain relievers. Caffeine may worsen PMS symptoms such as anxiety, depression and breast tenderness. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) currently recommends that people who experience PMS avoid caffeine consumption, as evidence shows that women with PMS tend to consume more caffeine.
Giving your body the right nutrients in the form of supplements can also help to manage your PMS. These four supplements may help with PMS by reducing symptoms. Before taking any supplements, please consult with a natural healthcare practitioner or your primary care physician.
Evening Primrose Oil: Evening Primrose Oil provides an excellent source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). GLA helps to promote the production of anti-inflammatory chemicals in the body and may be helpful for the discomfort of PMS, joint pain and swelling, along with various skin conditions.
Magnesium: Magnesium plays a crucial role in energy production. Unfortunately, diuretics, alcohol consumption, high stress levels and unbalanced diets can result in a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium helps to relax the muscular contractions of the uterus caused by hormonal imbalances.
Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is one of the most essential, widely used vitamins in the body. As a coenzyme, B6 participates in a wide variety of enzymatic reactions. It is therefore needed for the proper growth and maintenance of almost all our body structures and body functions. It is particularly important for nervous system functioning, cardiovascular health and women’s health. Vitamin B6 is a natural diuretic and helps with PMS-related bloating. B6 also aids in balancing estrogen levels. Vitamin B6 is best taken in combination with a balanced B-complex, such as Pathway B-Complex 50.
Green Foods: Cravings for chocolate and other sweet foods are a common and frustrating symptom of PMS. This can cause weight gain and increased stress when you are following a healthy meal plan. Taking a green food supplement a couple times per day can help to eliminate cravings, boost your energy, and help to balance your blood sugar levels. Pathway UltraGreens powder contains 12 green superfoods, 4 fibers, 12 herbs, 8 additional superfoods, and 6 sea vegetables. Ultra Greens provides a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibers, carotenoids, and chlorophyll.
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