Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
As many as 75% of menstruating women can identify with the physical and emotional symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). A highly individualized experience, PMS is characterized by a constellation of symptoms including moodiness, tearfulness, irritability, bloating, insomnia, fatigue, food cravings, headaches, breast tenderness, cramps, and depression. It’s estimated that as many as 3 of every 4 menstruating women have experienced some form of premenstrual syndrome. Symptoms generally start a week or a few days before menstruation and continue into the first few days.
The exact cause of PMS is unknown, though theories suggest that PMS may result from an imbalance in hormones. This imbalance can cause mood fluctuations, and food craving. Preliminary studies indicate a possible link between PMS and abnormal metabolism of prostaglandins (hormone like substances) or the hormone progesterone. Also, PMS may be associated with decreased levels of the brain chemical serotonin, which is instrumental in the regulation of mood, appetite, and feelings of well-being.
Certain substances in food may offer relief from some of the distressing symptoms of PMS. Foods that are rich in Calcium like almonds, tofu, beans, or lentils may help with symptoms. Studies indicate that this mineral may help to reduce mood disturbances, cramping, and bloating. Another nutrient that may help are complex carbohydrates like potatoes, rice, whole greens or beans by lowering the rate at which glucose enters the bloodstream, foods high in complex carbs may help with good cravings too. Further, complex carbs are thought to increase levels of the brain chemical serotonin, which helps regulate mood. Some studies show that women suffering from PMS have low levels of magnesium, so it is thought that increasing the magnesium levels with food like avocados, sunflower seeds, quinoa or amaranth could help with these symptoms. B6 is another nutrient that is believed to reduce anxiety and depression by increasing serotonin and other chemicals involved with mood. Ginger is a great inflammatory and works well with painful cramps.
We all have different bodies, diets, and lifestyles so this may not work for everyone but is worth trying, especially the ginger you can make a ginger tea or a juice. Eat healthy, exercise and include a ton of fresh raw vegetables and fruits and drink plenty of water. Don’t forget to pray everyday, God Bless.
- Fight Back with Food: Use Nutrition to Heal What Ails You. Readers Digest Association, 2007.
- “National Center For Biotechnology Information”. Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov, 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/. Accessed 19 Aug 2018.
- Health, Women’s. “PMS”. Webmd, 2018, https://www.webmd.com/women/pms/default.htm. Accessed 19 Aug 2018.