Eating to help your PMS

Posted 12/23/2013 | By HealthCorps

Premenstrual syndrome or PMS is a monthly variety of symptoms that some women experience either before or at the beginning of their menstrual cycle.  Symptoms can include mood swings, tender breasts, food cravings, fatigue, irritability, and depression.  PMS tends to peak when women are in their 20s and 30s, and the symptoms often occur with some predictability on a monthly basis.

The symptoms can also ebb and flow, with PMS more severe during certain cycles, and less prominent at other times.

Your doctor may suggest certain medications like NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen), an anti-depressant, which can help with the mood swings, sleep issues and food cravings, or diuretics, which can help with fluid retention and weight gain.  There are also some foods that may help to temper some of the symptoms of PMS:

Turkey – Rich in tryptophan, it may help to regulate serotonin, a mood hormone.  Remember to buy low fat, low salt turkey.

Whole grains – Rich in B vitamins, may help to provide slow steady energy.  Consider adding a healthy protein, like a nut-based butter on a slice of whole grain bread, to modulate blood sugar levels.

Flaxseed – It’s high in omega 3 fatty acids which can help to reduce inflammation and modulate prostaglandins, implicated in the cramping some women experience with PMS.

Spinach – This vegetable, rich in magnesium, can help to reduce the excess fluid associated with PMS.

Quick note:  If you haven’t already taken care of it, it is time for your annual flu shot.  Nearly 100,000 people die yearly from flu complications, and that statistic includes otherwise healthy individuals.  This is a yearly “wellness habit” for individuals between the age of 6 months and up.  If you are between the ages of 5 and 49, you may be eligible for the FluMist.

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