3 PMS-Relieving Tips Every Woman Should Know

Ladies, you all know the symptoms. Bloating, headaches, moodiness and cramping can only mean one thing; it must be that time of the month. Like clockwork, a woman’s menstrual cycle is brought on by changing levels of hormones throughout the body. 

For many women, the menstrual cycle is accompanied by PMS, which is often linked to the changing levels of estrogen, serotonin and progesterone.

And while the uncomfortable symptoms of PMS are only temporary, they can still put quite a damper on your day. However, it may surprise you to learn that your diet can have a big impact on your body’s ability to cope with PMS. Sheila Warren, RN, Gwinnett Medical Center's Women's Health Navigator, explains which foods can boost serotonin levels, give you energy and help lessen symptoms.

      1. A balanced diet is extra important.

To counter PMS symptoms, maintain a balanced diet. This means including foods in the following food groups: dairy, grains, fruits and veggies, and protein. Whatever food choices you make, keep these vitamins and nutrients in mind to help minimize PMS symptoms:

Calcium may ease mood swings, headache, bloating and irritability. It's found in dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt. Some juices, breads, cereals and soy products have calcium added (fortified).

Magnesium may relieve bloating and breast tenderness. It's found in many foods, including fresh fruits and veggies. To help your body get enough magnesium, eat 5 or more servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables a day.

Vitamin B6 helps the body use serotonin, thereby helping to ease depression. It's found in chicken, fish, potatoes, eggs and carrots.

Vitamin E may reduce headache and breast tenderness. It's found in nuts such as almonds, peanuts and hazelnuts. It's also found in green leafy vegetables.

      2. Eating good mood foods will actually help!

Eating foods high in carbohydrates (carbs) and fiber can help you manage PMS. That's because carbs raise serotonin levels and as your body's main source of energy, they can help you overcome fatigue. 

To help keep energy and serotonin levels steady, eat small amounts throughout the day. Great sources of high-fiber carbs include:

Whole-grain foods: Brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, whole-grain bread and buckwheat noodles are good choices.

Fresh fruits and veggies: especially when eaten unpeeled.

Beans and legumes: such as kidney beans, peas and lentils.

      3. You’ll definitely want to avoid these foods.

Some foods can make actually worsen PMS symptoms. These include:

Salt can cause bloating. Since canned vegetables are often high in salt, buy fresh instead. Flavor with herbs, lemon or salt-free seasonings.

Sugar is a carb that provides only short bursts of energy. If you crave sugar, choose a food that's also high in fiber, like an apple or a bran muffin. If you just can’t resist something chocolate, pair it with some fresh fruit for a delicious and nutritious treat.

Caffeine can disrupt sleep, which makes symptoms harder to cope with. Caffeine can also cause breast tenderness. Try to limit caffeinated drinks as much as possible.

Alcohol can make you feel depressed and can disrupt sleep. Many kinds of alcohol are also high in sugar. You may try limiting the amount of alcohol you drink while coping with your PMS symptoms.

Your go-to source for PMS relief and more

Whether you have questions about PMS, fertility and pregnancy or menopause, Sheila Warren, RN, the Women’sHealth Navigator at Gwinnett Medical Center, can help!  As a dedicated resource for you and your family, Sheila is available to help guide and support all of your health care experiences.

Even better, the women’s health navigator service is available to you at no charge. You can enjoy a complimentary health & wellness consult with Sheila today by calling 678-671-2303

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