PMS, or Pre-Menstrual Syndrome, is incredibly common and almost every woman has experienced it at some point in their lives. Symptoms can be mild one month and terrible the next and include mood swings, acne, food cravings, tender breasts and fatigue. PMS occurs due to the hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle – and importantly stress, lack of exercise and poor diet can aggravate the symptoms.
There are a number of ways of tackling this, one of which is making sure your diet supports you. Let’s take a look at some of the changes you can make to your diet which will ease PMS symptoms and make your life a little more pleasant around the house at that dreaded “time of the month”!
- Make your meals smaller and eat more often to avoid bloating and irritability. This keeps your blood sugar levels more stable, more importantly make sure you have a healthy snack in the late afternoon to avoid the slump and get you through to supper. A yoghurt, some provitas, a banana and cup of tea or a small handful of nuts are all good options.
- Eating salty food is never good for you, and especially not while you are premenstrual. Cutting down on salt will reduce water retention and swelling. Resist that packet of chips!
- Calcium rich foods – Dairy, sardines, spinach, fortified cereals and soy milk for example – are great for relieving PMS symptoms.
- Bananas! They contain melatonin which helps you to sleep. Sleep is often disrupted before your period so a banana as a snack before bed is a great idea.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Don’t eat any sugary foods. Even though you’ll crave them, sugary foods will make you feel worse and the extra calories will contribute to weight gain.
- Take a multivitamin supplement specifically for PMS.
- Eat Omega 3 rich foods, like salmon, or use an Omega 3 supplement.
By watching what you eat and exercising regularly you can do a lot to ease PMS, but if you find that you’re really struggling with it, it might be worthwhile visiting your doctor.
Written by Dr Lynelle Hoeks