What is Premenstrual Syndrome?
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a medical condition that affects some women of childbearing age. PMS is related to a variety of physical and psychological symptoms that occur just before the menstrual period.
PMS is such a regular occurrence for many women that they consider it a normal part of getting their period. Women get moderate to severe symptoms a week or two before their monthly cycle begins.
Although the causes of PMS aren’t well understood, fluctuating levels of hormones and brain chemicals are thought to play a role. What a woman eats and drinks can also have an effect.
Symptoms of PMS
Most often, women suffer from depression, irritability, fatigue, abdominal cramping, breast tenderness, and headaches.
The other most commonly reported physical symptoms include –
- abdominal bloating
- fluid retention
- constipation or diarrhea
- headaches or migraines
- changes in appetite
- weight gain
- muscle or joint aches
Among the emotional symptoms women may experience are depression, anxiety, insomnia or sleep disturbances, change in sex drive or interest, irritability, anger or hostility, mood swings, difficulty concentrating, crying, and fatigue.
Food cravings also are a common complaint of women who experience PMS. Cravings tend to revolve around carbohydrate-rich foods, particularly sugar, and also alcohol.
Dietary Tips that can help to ease PMS
Cook your own food rather than eating fast food or processed food . Eating less salt is particularly recommended for patients with bloating, breast tenderness or swollen hands. (Also read –> How much Sodium should you have in a day?)
Get your vitamin D
Vitamin D is the only nutrient your body produces when exposed to sunlight. Spending time out in the sun is the best way to get your daily dose of vitamin D. However, sufficient sun exposure is difficult for many people to achieve.
Foods that are rich in Vitamin D are – salmon, sardines, oysters, mushrooms, whole eggs etc. Upping your vitamin D can help you to reduce PMS symptoms.
(Read more about–>> Vitamin D for the Women with PCOS)
While it’s tempting to have a drink to help you to relax, but, alcohol can disrupt your sleep.
It’s easy to reach for some hot coffee to get us going, but too much caffeine can disrupt your sleep and contribute to PMS symptoms.
(Also read –> Holy Basil Tea and It’s Amazing Health Benefits)
Eat more calcium
Some studies suggest that eating more calcium — in foods like yogurt, milk, soy products, seeds and nuts, greens, which can reduce a variety of PMS symptoms.
(Also read –> 16 Calcium Rich Foods For Vegans)
Eat more complex carbs
Carbohydrates can help to improve your mood. When cravings lead to an increased intake of simple refined carbohydrates, insulin levels can spike, causing not only fluid retention, but also increases the PMS. So, eat complex carbs instead of the refined one. It will help to get relief from the PMS. (Also read –> Ragi /Finger Millet Uttapam – A Healthy Breakfast Recipe)
Drink plenty of water
Women should drink at least 3 to 4 liters of water daily to reduce bloating, aids in digestion and has a number of other health benefits. You can also flavor your water with lemons, limes or cucumber slices.
(Also read –> Best Time To Drink Water)
Snack on nuts
Instead of munching on chips or that candy bar, snack on unsalted nuts. Nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and help you feel full longer. Try a variety of nuts like walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts.
(Also read –> Are Soaked Almonds Healthier Than Raw?)
Eat whole grains
Whole grains such as whole grain breads, pastas, cereals and brown rice. Shifting levels of estrogen and progesterone can decrease amounts of serotonin in the brain, which can affect your mood and trigger depression, anxiety or irritability. Eat whole grains rather than indulging on sugar to boost mood.
(Also read –> Health Benefits Of Finger Millet/ Ragi and Easy Ragi Recipes)
Eat iron-rich foods
You need to increase iron intake before and during your period to replace what you lose each month. A diet that includes iron-rich foods may help you avoid anemia. Include iron rich foods like – spinach, broccoli, legumes, shellfish etc.
Don’t Ignore Other Lifestyle Habits
There is some evidence that maintaining a healthy body weight may help to prevent PMS. Overweight or obese women are more likely to have symptoms. Being physically active helps to keep your waistline in check and works wonders to release stress.
Stress plays a huge role in the intensity of PMS symptoms. So find ways to relax your mind, whether it’s exercising, deep breathing, or doing yoga.
Feeling tired is yet another sign of PMS, so you need more sleep than usual. Lastly, you should stop smoking. Studies have shown that smoking may increase a woman’s risk for moderate to severe PMS.