11 Foods that Fight PMS
Painful periods are not only annoying, but can also be exhausting and interfere with your quality of life. If you struggle with PMS each month, try adding these 11 foods to your diet and stop PMS for good.
Do you have painful periods? Did you know that certain foods can help you avoid the painful side effects that occur during “that time of the month?”
Research has shown that there are several nutrients that many women with PMS lack. By boosting these nutrients in your own body through diet and supplements, you can greatly reduce your chances of suffering from painful PMS symptoms without the need for hormonal supplements.
Certain nutrients have been scientifically proven to help ease the symptoms of PMS. All of the following vitamins are essential for preventing painful PMS symptoms. Researchers are not quite sure how each of these nutrients work to prevent PMS, but ensuring your intake of these vitamins and minerals is high enough will result in up to a 50 percent reduce chance of feeling pain, moodiness, and general suffering during periods.
Magnesium is an essential nutrient that helps with everything from regulating mood to building bones. Researchers believe that magnesium is one of the most essential minerals for fighting off PMS. During menstruation, magnesium levels drop, which can trigger mood swings and cravings for unhealthy foods (like excessive amounts of chocolate, which contains magnesium). However, plenty of other foods contain magnesium. Many women find that taking a magnesium supplement can also reduce the side effects of PMS.
During PMS, the serotonin levels in the brain can drop. This is because progesterone levels are lower during menstruation, which help boost mood by boosting serotonin levels in the brain. You can keep your serotonin levels high to prevent PMS by engaging in mood-boosting activities. Spending time outside in the sun, exercising regularly, and eating mood-boosting foods can all help fight mood swings and prevent PMS.
Recent studies have shown that vitamin B2 is another essential nutrient in the fight against PMS. Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, has a powerful effect on PMS symptoms. Since the studies about riboflavin are so new, researchers are unsure how the vitamin helps PMS. However, a 2011 study that looked at over 100,000 women nurses found that women with high B2 levels in their blood were 35 percent less likely to suffer from PMS.
Vitamin B1 also contributes greatly to the health of women during the normal hormonal fluctuations of their cycles. The same study that found the benefits of vitamin B2 also found that vitamin B1 (also called thiamine), was extremely beneficial in preventing PMS. In fact, the researchers found that women who had high levels of vitamin B1 in the blood were 25 percent less likely to suffer from PMS symptoms.
Vitamin B6 is another curious B vitamin that plays a large role in preventing PMS. Vitamin B6 is also credited with the ability to fight off nausea during pregnancy. Vitamin B6 plays several roles in the body; including removing excess estrogen from the body and helping magnesium reach cells. A 1988 study looked at the role of vitamin B6 in over 600 women. The study researchers found that when women supplemented with 160-200 mg of vitamin B6 daily, up to 88 percent of women reported less severe PMS.
Ordinarily, vitamin E is considered a vitamin to benefit the skin and nails. Vitamin E plays a role in fighting PMS as well. Vitamin E reduces the production of prostaglandins in the body, which cause cramps, bloating, and breast tenderness.
Manganese supports the absorption of calcium in the body, and is also able to fight mood swings and depression. Several studies have shown that a diet high in Manganese can reduce the severity of PMS symptoms. Studies cited by the University of Maryland showed that many women with PMS are low in Manganese. Supplementing with Manganese was able to reduce cramps in mood swings in a 1993 study from the United States Department of Agriculture.
Calcium is not just for bone health. Women are often chronically lacking in calcium, thanks to a reduced dairy intake in recent decades combined with pregnancy and childbirth, and the simply changes in calcium levels that occur with hormonal changes. Calcium is an essential nutrient in the fight against PMS as well. Calcium can fight the physical and mental side effects of PMS, easing periods and making them less painful.
There are many foods that contain the above ingredients. Women should take care to eat as many of these foods as possible to provide the best building blocks to prevent painful PMS symptoms. Through diet alone, a woman may be able to completely eradicate her PMS symptoms. Some women will need the extra push of supplements to completely fight the symptoms, however.
If you have neglected the foods listed below, adding supplements will help ease the symptoms of PMS until your body is ready to fight PMS on its own based on the nutrients supplied in your diet.
Dairy products can be surprisingly beneficial for women. Many women are afraid of eating too many dairy products, because of the high fat content of milk and dairy products. However, dairy products contain some of the best mixture of vitamins and minerals available in one food group. If you are worried about the fat content, you can eat low-fat dairy products. Studies show that low-fat dairy products contain the same amount of nutrients and calcium, although they do also have significantly higher sugar content.
Dairy products are rich in calcium and B vitamins. One cup of milk contains 30 percent of the recommended daily intake of calcium, 5 percent of the recommended intake of vitamin B 6, and 6 percent of the recommended intake for magnesium.
Yogurt is a dairy product, and offers the same benefits as other dairy products. However, the live cultures in yogurt may provide another benefit against PMS. Probiotics benefit the digestion, and speed elimination, which prevents painful bloating and constipation that can sometimes accompany PMS.
Probiotics can also eliminate excess estrogen in the body, which can lead to less pain and irritability during a woman’s cycle, according to the book Probiotics: Nature's Internal Healer written by probiotic expert Natasha Trenev.
Fish contains high levels of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Some studies have indicated that vitamin D can help fight PMS symptoms.
A study from 2010 from the University of Massachusetts found that women who took at least 253 IU of vitamin D a day reported minimal or no PMS symptoms. Other studies have suggested that supplementing with vitamin D may reduce the risk of PMS symptoms by up to 40 percent.
Fish also contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which can boost serotonin levels naturally in the brain. Many fish and shell fish also contain a high amount of B vitamins, which are able to fight PMS symptoms.
Beans have many beneficial ingredients, but the highest benefit against PMS is the high magnesium content of beans. Beans have about 30 percent of the recommended daily intake of magnesium in one cup. Beans also contain 5 percent of the recommended value of calcium, 28 percent of vitamin B1, and 6 percent of vitamin B2 intake. Studies show that women with reduced magnesium levels have worse PMS symptoms.
Although excessive amounts of sugar during a period isn’t good, there is some evidence that small amounts of dark chocolate can have beneficial effects. Dark chocolate with 70 to 85 percent cocao solids contain several beneficial nutrients that can fight PMS. Dark chocolate contains vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, calcium, and 58 percent of the recommended dietary intake of magnesium in 3.5 ounces.
Chocolate can also boost the mood, because it contains theobromine, manganese, and phenylethylamine, which naturally boost the levels of serotonin and endorphins in the brain. Just stick to dark chocolate and don’t eat more than a serving or two, or else you will negate any health benefits and get a sick stomach.
Chickpeas are beneficial for fighting PMS because they contain magnesium, vitamin B6, and manganese. Manganese fights mood swings and depression. Vitamin B6 reduces irritability and depression, and magnesium fights bloating, among other things.
One cup of chickpeas contains 3 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin E, 11 percent of the recommended intake of vitamin B6, 13 percent of the recommended intake of vitamin B1, 84 percent of recommended manganese, and 20 percent of recommended intake for magnesium.
Brown rice is another powerful anti-PMS food. Brown rice contains high levels of both magnesium and vitamin B6. Brown rice also contains 107 percent of the recommended daily intake of manganese.
Leafy greens have everything you need to fight PMS, including vitamin B2, magnesium, and vitamin E. The biggest PMS fighting ingredients in leafy greens are manganese, magnesium, and vitamin B2.
Nuts are rich sources of vitamin E, magnesium, and serotonin. Some nuts are better able to provide serotonin boosts than others. Walnuts are particularly beneficial in boosting mood and serotonin levels.
Tropical fruits contain high levels of vitamin E. Mangos, for example, contain 9 percent of the recommended daily intake for vitamin E, as well as 11 percent of the recommended daily intake for vitamin B6, another PMS fighting nutrient.
Oranges contain several vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial in fighting PMS. Oranges are high in vitamin B1, and are also surprisingly high in calcium. One orange has about 7 percent of the recommended daily intake for calcium.
If your diet has been lacking in the above foods for a while, or if you simply do not like some of the foods, or are perhaps a vegetarian, it is likely that you are lacking in many of the above nutrients. Supplementing with the above nutrients can help restore the necessary balance of vitamins and minerals in your body. While you restore the balance of minerals and vitamins in your body, the following three supplements can help ease any side effects from PMS while your body regulates:
Licorice has soothing qualities that have been shown to help ease the pain associated with PMS. In a 1967 study, licorice supplements were able to raise progesterone levels and reduce excess estrogen in the body, which can help prevent many of the side effects and mood swings in PMS.
Chasteberry is a traditional supplement for PMS. According to the National Institute of Health, chaseberry can raise dopamine levels in the brain. The NIH states that chasteberry may be effective in fighting the symptoms of PMS- possibly due to the increase in dopamine it provides.
Some studies have indicated that Dong quai is effective at reducing the pain of PMS- mainly cramping and pain. Dong quai is most effective when taken with supporting supplements, like vitamins and minerals.
A 2000 study from Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles indicated that a supplement mixture of dong quai chase berry, and evening primrose oil was effective at eliminating some PMS symptoms.
If you suffer from painful, irritating periods, you do not have to continue to suffer until menopause. Although some minor PMS symptoms are a normal part of hormonal changes, many of the common PMS symptoms women face today are the result of poor nutritional and dietary choices.
By adding PMS-fighting foods to your diet, you can heal many of the most painful and irritating side effects of menstruation. Until the balance of nutrients is restored in your body, you may find it helpful to supplement your PMS diet with a packaged form of the essential PMS nutrients, as well as the complimentary herbs that can make your periods less painful.
Within a few months, you should find that your periods are much less painful than they used to be- all thanks to your new, nutrient-rich diet.
Probiotics: Nature's Internal Healers By Natasha Trenev
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