Your diet can help ease symptoms of PMS such as headaches, bloating, cramps, low energy, irritability, mood swings, cravings and breast tenderness leading up to your period. For the 85% of women who experience at least one of these symptoms this is good to know!
Best foods for PMS
Symptoms of your period can put a real damper on your daily life, especially in the days leading up to your period. In addition to PMS supplements, there are simple changes you can make to your diet which can make all the difference.
Get plenty of Calcium
Researchers have found that Calcium levels tend to be lower in women with PMS symptoms, and those women are also at an increased risk of osteoporosis.
Increasing Calcium through foods and supplements can help ease uncomfortable PMS symptoms, particularly those related to appetite, bloating and fatigue.
Most studies recommend you should aim to get between 1,000-1,200 mg per day and you can reach that by including around 3-5 servings of calcium-rich foods per day.
Great calcium rich foods include leafy greens like kale, spinach, white beans, chickpeas, lentils, kiwi fruit, almonds, fortified plant-based milks and soy foods including tofu and tempeh.
Top up on Iron-rich foods
Iron is involved in the conversion of the amino-acid 'trytophan' to serotonin, the hormone related to mood regulation and commonly referred to as the 'happy hormone'.
Higher levels of Iron are thought to increase levels of serotonin and consequently calm those discomforting PMS symptoms. Various studies have found that boosting Iron levels can help ease PMS symptoms related to mood and lethargy.
The recommended intake of Iron is 14.8mg per day - this is the minimum level you should receive in your diet or through Iron supplements to avoid health conditions caused by a deficiency.
Learn about 'Why Iron is so important for women'.
Great Iron rich foods include dark leafy greens, lentils, beans, quinoa, brown rice, dried fruit and tofu.
Boost your intake of foods with Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 helps our body transform food into fuel, keeps our nervous system in check, and is involved in making the mood-boosting and stress-relieving hormones; serotonin and dopamine.
Researchers believe that increasing your Vitamin B6 intake through food and supplementation can help relieve the psychological symptoms associated with PMS including irritability and low mood. Read our article: 5 foods to improve your mood.
Great foods rich in Vitamin B6 include navy beans, bananas, avocados, walnuts, sweet potatoes, tofu and fortified cereals.
Chasteberry (Agnus Castus)
Chasteberry, the fruit of the chaste tree, has been used for centuries as a remedy for a range of reproductive issues including PMS symptoms.
Because certain hormones drive PMS symptoms, Chasteberry works by rebalancing those hormones and decreasing the negative effects of PMS. You can find Chasteberry in various PMS supplements in the form of capsules, or try eating dried Chasteberry to get the same benefits.
By Riya Lakhani, ANutr
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