Bloating, terrible cramps, irritability, moodiness, strong cravings, fatigue, headaches or depression - these are only a few of the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (i.e. PMS) that up to 75% of women experience every month at the end of their menstrual cycle.
But if you belong to the majority of women with these pesky symptoms, I am here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be this way… Indeed, PMS symptoms can be alleviated- voire eliminated altogether. In today’s article, I’ll share with you why PMS arises in your body and how you can ease any uncomfortable symptoms via a few lifestyle and dietary habit changes, which you can start implementing right away.
PMS - An Introduction:
I am sure you don’t need an introduction as to what PMS is; that being said, many of you might wonder why do some women experience PMS at all. Well the simple answer is: hormonal imbalance.
You see as women, our bodies are extremely cyclical- meaning that all women’s bodies follow a certain cycle and rhythm during which our hormones, especially oestrogen and progesterone, and their concentration within our bodies change. This hormonal fluctuation happens every “month” or so in order for us to procreate. Say hello to your menstrual cycle.
What most women do not realize is that the menstrual cycle is actually comprised of 4 phases:
This is important to know as your hormones levels will change in concentration depending on which phase of your cycle you are in. This is key because most women experience PMS symptoms when estrogen is too dominant within the body (i.e. when estrogen is very high and progesterone is low).
I hope I didn’t lose you yet... don’t worry, this will all make sense in a minute.
So typically, PMS symptoms can be felt post-ovulation because it is after ovulation that estrogen tends to peak and drop. Normally, high estrogen levels within the body feel good as they are associated with great energy and happiness (serotonin often mimics estrogen). However, when estrogen levels are too high and then suddenly drop, that’s when most women may start to feel moody, depressed, lethargic, etc.
Depending on how well your body is able to adjust to these hormonal fluctuations, you may experience mild to excruciatingly painful PMS symptoms.
The good news is that you can remedy the situation via a few nutritional and lifestyle changes.
Here are five steps to alleviate PMS symptoms naturally:
1. Clean Up Your Diet
There are some foods which can help ease your PMS symptoms, while others may exacerbate them.Here are some of the foods I would recommend that you add to your daily diet (especially post-ovulation):
leafy greens, fiber-rich vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, healthy fats and proteins such as eggs, avocado, fish, lean meat. When you eat a whole foods diet, you are giving your body a ton of beneficial nutrients, which help reduce PMS symptoms, namely: healthy fibers, magnesium, calcium, zinc, vitamin B6, B1, B2 and omega-3s.
And please make sure you also drink enough water to help your body flush out any excess toxins.
Now let’s talk about which foods, you should definitely avoid consuming as they aggravate PMS symptoms. These foods are: alcohol (leads to poor sleep and overburdens the liver), processed and refined sugars (associated with cravings, poor sleep, hormonal imbalance), caffeine (due to poorer sleep and energy dips), refined grains and processed foods. The common link between all of these foods is that they tend to increase inflammation within the body, leading to hormonal imbalances, and increased stress. So do yourself a favour and avoid them as much as possible.
2. Supplement Your Diet
It’s always a good idea to add some supplements to your diet; especially if you are experiencing any sort of hormonal imbalances (which nutrition can help remedy). Here are some of the supplements I would recommend if you suffer from bothersome to extreme PMS:
3. Support Your Hormonal Health with Herbs
Just as some supplements can be of great use to ease PMS, so can certain herbs. Here are a few to try:
4. Move Your Body
Moving your body regularly is primordial because when you move you help your body detox, you improve your digestive function, your mood and you help balance out your hormones. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise 4 to 5 times per week. Choose something that you love and know you will commit to doing regularly.
5. Manage Your Stress Levels
Managing your stress is part of any and all of my healing protocols with my clients. And that is because when you are stressed psychologically, your body also gets stressed physically. This can lead to internal inflammation of your joints/muscles/organs/cells, poor digestion, poor sleep, food sensitivities, hormonal imbalances, etc. If you’ve been dealing with PMS symptoms, then reducing your levels of stress is critical. Try lessening your workload, doing some yoga, breathing techniques, meditation, carving out more “me-time” or taking a warm epsom salt bath.
And there you have it, these are just a few lifestyle and dietary changes that you can try implementing to alleviate your PMS symptoms. I hope you find them helpful.
Of course, if you need more in-depth information on the topic of hormonal health and nutrition, please stay tuned as I’d love to share more with you during our next Nutritional talk at Sinews. And if you need more personalized guidance in managing and improving your own hormonal health naturally, feel free to contact me (email@example.com) or Sinews to book your first nutritional coaching session.
I look forward to meeting you at my next talk or in my office.