Those few days before your period can feel like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster, that takes little stops along the way to fuel up on junk food, headaches, mood swings, swollen and painful breasts, bloating, and pimples. Water retention, particularly in the feet, legs, and face can add a few pounds on the scale. For 20-40% of women, bad PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, is just accepted as normal. In fact, symptoms that feel debilitating are not necessarily normal, nor do we have to accept them as such.
What are the causes of PMS?
PMS is caused by hormonal fluctuations and altered levels of various hormones during the different phases of the menstrual cycle. These fluctuations can be worsened by certain factors like smoking, a poor diet, excess caffeine, a sedentary lifestyle, poor sleep patterns, and a biggy…..STRESS.
What can help ease PMS symptoms?
Oral contraceptives, or Hormone Replacement Therapy, are often prescribed by Doctors, which suppress or alter the body’s natural hormones resulting in alleviated symptoms. An alternative to balancing hormones can be achieved through diet, herbal remedies, and lifestyle, a preferred method by some Holistic Nutritionists and Health Coaches, like myself. Add these remedies to your monthly checklist for easier days leading up to your cycle:
Nettle and Dandelion Root teas are diuretics which help ease some water retention
Red Raspberry Leaf tea helps to tone the uterus and relieve some cramping
Herbs and spices contain micronutrients and antioxidants that are nourishing during stressful times, and can help combat sugar cravings. Add cinnamon, turmeric, parsley, basil, cilantro, oregano, and rosemary to your meals, bone broth, or tea
Gentle exercise, although you might not feel like doing it, can relieve some pain as it gets blood circulating and boost mood by releasing endorphins. Even a simple walk in the sunshine for a vitamin D boost, a yoga class, or a swim feels great
Nutrient-dense food, particularly high in iron, will help top up any nutrient deficiencies that are lost during your cycle. Although cravings might call for caffeine, greasy fries or chocolate, they just contribute to inflammation and worsen symptoms
An important hormone for your cycle, progesterone, requires vitamins E and B’s, which you can get from egg yolk, legumes, almonds, and pumpkin seeds
Estrogen is another hormone at play during your cycle, but too much of it, in relation to progesterone, can make PMS feel worse. By including plenty of fibre in your diet through whole grains, fruits, veggies, and beans, you can assist your body in detoxing some excess estrogen to help ease the typical symptoms during your cycle
Choose clean and organic whenever possible, in foods and beauty products. This reduces more hormones, pesticides, and estrogen-mimicking chemicals from accumulating in our body
Get in high quality omega 3 fats, which nourish your brain and mood, are needed for hormone production, and help reduce inflammation. Aim for olives and olive oil, flax oil on salads, ground flax on oatmeal or granola, fatty fish, walnuts, chia and hemp heart seeds sprinkled on salads
Magnesium Bis-glycinate helps to relax the nervous system and pain associated with abdominal cramps and headaches. One supplement before bed can help support a better night’s sleep so you wake up feeling more refreshed. Add another form of magnesium, Epsom salts, to your bath to help soothe muscular aches and pains. Just 1 cup per bath will do
Don’t wait for PMS to come on before implementing a healthy diet. If you make healthy choices all month long with a balanced, no brainer nutrition plan, those few days leading up to your cycle might feel like a breeze and just blow on by without causing you any added discomfort
Get yourself set up with a custom meal plan that gives your body the nutrients it needs. A life with less PMS symptoms is just a few clicks away.