Research has shown that women with PMS have lower blood levels of calcium around their time of ovulation compared with women who don’t have PMS symptoms. Mood and bloating has been shown to improve when women take 1,000 – 1,200 mg of calcium daily. Calcium rich foods include low-fat dairy products, calcium-fortified soymilk, low-fat cheese, broccoli, kale, and white beans, tofu, rhubarb, sardines, okra, peas, Brussels sprouts, sesame seeds, and almonds, and calcium-fortified orange juice.
Women with PMS tend to have lower blood levels of magnesium. A diet rich in magnesium can improve mood and decrease water retention. Magnesium also helps regulate serotonin, the so- called-feel-good neurotransmitter. Proper levels of serotonin helps to elevate moods, while decreasing water retention. Magnesium-rich foods include pumpkin seeds, spinach, Swiss chard, wild salmon, sunflower seeds, cashews, quinoa, potatoes with skin, soybeans, beans (black, white, navy, lima, pinto, kidney), amaranth, peanuts, peanut butter, chick peas, brown rice, and whole grain bread, and whole-grain breads.
VITAMIN B6 MATTERS
Vitamin B6 is one of the necessary ingredients required by the body to manufacture dopamine, one of the mood neurotransmitters. Some studies have shown that taking a supplement reduces irritability, depression, and breast tenderness. Taking between 50 mg and 300 mg daily can help in the reduction in symptoms of PMS. Some of the best foods for B6 include fortified whole-grain breakfast cereals, garbanzo beans (chick peas), wild salmon, lean beef, pork tenderloin, chicken breast, white potatoes with skin, oatmeal, banana, unsalted pistachio nuts, lentils, spinach, cod, snapper, turkey, and bell peppers.
VITAMIN E – Studies has shown that by taking 400 – 600 IU per day, women can experience a reduction in breast tenderness and cysts within breast. Vitamin E can be found in sources such as, vegetable oil, leafy vegetables, fortified cereals, and nuts.
LIMIT SALT INTAKE – PMS can cause bloating and water retention. An intake high in salt can increase bloating and water retention. Recommend limiting the use of the salt shaker at the table and use natural sea salt.
AVOID ALCOHOL- Avoid excessive alcohol during PMS to reduced breast tenderness. Alcohol upsets blood sugar levels and interferes with magnesium and zinc absorption.
AVOID CAFFEINE – Research suggests that the effects of caffeine are magnified during PMS, leading to greater breast tenderness, nervousness, & potentially more irritability. Caffeine in coffee, soft drinks & chocolate act as a stimulant which induces irritability, anxiety, depression, headaches & insomnia. Replace coffee, tea, & caffeinated drinks, with herbal teas & other decaffeinated beverages. Consider chamomile tea b/c of its properties that relieve muscle spasms & reduce tension to alleviate painful menstrual cramps, anxiety, and irritability.
FIBER FIGHTS CRAVINGS, MOOD SWINGS, & FATIGUE – Great sources of fiber include, berries, pears, apples, beans, peas, spaghetti, oat bran muffins, and spinach. Complex carbohydrates contain fiber and give energy over a longer period of time. Try not to go more than 3 hours without eating to keep your blood sugar levels even.
HYDRATE – Drinking more water will reduce retention and bloating by diluting the concentration of salt within the body.
GOT SLEEP? – Lack of sleep causes women to feel tired and run down which may increase levels of stress and symptoms of PMS.
ENOUGH EXERCISE – Regular exercise can reduce the additional stress women may feel prior to menstruation by regulating hormone levels.