Yes, your diet can help relieve PMS symptoms
Chances are you have experienced PMS symptoms from time to time. Maybe you realize your PMS symptoms vary from one month to another, or perhaps you get awful PMS symptoms, are so tired you cannot stay awake, and feel overly emotional. In contrast, your friend does not experience any at all. This post explains PMS’s signs and symptoms and focuses on the foods and nutrients to help prevent and combat PMS symptoms.
What is PMS?
PMS stands for premenstrual syndrome and occurs seven to ten days before menstruation begins. PMS is often caused by hormonal imbalances, with the severity of symptoms dependent on the level of hormonal imbalance. Additionally, specific nutrient deficiencies may further aggravate PMS symptoms such as Calcium, B Vitamins, Vitamin K, Vitamin E, and Magnesium.
Common Signs and Symptoms:
- Bloating and water retention
- Swollen and tender breasts
- Trouble sleeping
- Joint Pain
- Food Cravings
While women commonly experience PMS symptoms, it is important to know that moderate-severe PMS symptoms are NOT normal, and you do not have to let them get in the way of your life.
Our favorite foods for PMS
A key way to help balance hormones is through food! Different foods contain different nutrients that work to balance hormones through their unique properties. If you are suffering from PMS symptoms, it may be worth incorporating some of the foods listed below in your diet and see if you notice a difference in your symptoms (it may take a month or two to notice depending on how often you eat these foods and the level of hormonal imbalance).
Our favorite foods to help PMS symptoms:
- Cruciferous veggies (think broccoli, cauliflower, brussels, kale) – contain indoles that help balance hormones
- Leafy greens and spinach- rich in magnesium, calcium, and Vitamin K, which may help ease period cramps
- Chickpeas & legumes – contains vitamin B6, manganese, and magnesium, which may help moodiness, and cramping
- Sweet potatoes and Carrots – complex carbohydrates which increase satiation and help curb food cravings
- Bone broth – full of probiotics which may help bloating and is warming, and may help relieve period cramps
- Beets & beet greens – rich in potassium which may relieve bloating and period cramps
- Dark chocolate – contains iron and magnesium to help reduce cramps and satisfies a sweet tooth!
- Pumpkin seeds – rich in magnesium easing period cramps, also contains iron, fiber, zinc, and Omega 3’s
- Salmon – high in Omega 3’s, which are anti-inflammatory and may improve joint pain, mood, and cramps
- Bananas – rich in potassium and vitamin B6, which help to ease cramps and reduce water-retention
- Avocado – rich in magnesium, and potassium which help ease cramps and fiber to help with constipation
Our favorite supplements for PMS:
Aside from food, we find supplements can make a significant difference in reducing PMS symptoms. Working with an integrative practitioner is key to figuring out which supplements may be beneficial for you.
Supplements to help avoid and ease PMS:
- Magnesium glycinate – helps relieve cramps and may help relieve menstrual-related headaches
- Vitex (aka Chasteeberry) – improves bloating, breast pain, and mood
- Evening primrose oil (EPO) – improves bloating, water retention, breast pain, and mood
- B complex – may support mood and energy
- Omega 3 – may help relieve period pain
- Kava – may ease period pain and improve mood
- Diindolymethyl (DIM) – may help balance hormones
- Vitamin D (if you’re low!) – helps improve overall PMS symptoms
- Cramp bark – helps relieve cramps
- Cyclease – helps relieve cramps
Top food-related Hormone balancing tips
Now that we discussed what foods and nutrients to supplements, here are our top food-related tips to help balance hormone levels!
- Eat consistently throughout the day (no skipping meals!)
- Consume enough fruit + complex carbohydrates (do not avoid carbs!)
- Focus on incorporating healthy fat sources into meals (think: avocado, olive oil, nuts, and seeds – fat is everything in hormone balance!!)
- Reduce artificial sugars/sweeteners and refined carbohydrates
- Limit caffeine and avoid drinking on an empty stomach
- Increase electrolytes (try coconut water or a supplement – we love NUUN and LMNT)
- Add in herbal teas (raspberry leaf, ginger)
- Reduce alcohol intake
A day of eating on your period!
Wondering what to eat based on all this information? We put together a sample day of eating to give you an idea of what to eat – but by no means is this definitive or all-inclusive.
- Breakfast – Oatmeal with banana, flax/chia seeds, nut butter, protein powder, and cinnamon
- Lunch – Leafy green salad with chickpeas, brussels, avocado, and a mix of non-starchy veggies (sweet potato, carrots, etc.)
- Snack – Coconut yogurt topped with berries, and some nuts/seeds (think: pumpkin seeds and walnuts)
- Dinner – Grilled salmon on a bed of spinach with quinoa
- Dessert – A few pieces of dark chocolate (we love Hu Kitchen and Evolved Chocolate!) with raspberry leaf tea
The Bottom Line
Hormone levels are impacted by so much, ranging from what you eat, to when you eat, to your stress levels, lifestyle, and even the cleaning and beauty products you use. However, we find the diet to be incredibly impactful on hormone levels – using specific foods and nutrients help to balance hormones and prevent PMS symptoms while helping reduce current PMS symptoms.