Got PMS? Check what you’re eating…

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Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) causes many forms of misery for women, sometimes month after month. An estimated 40 percent of women suffer such serious physical and emotional symptoms from PMS that daily routines and activities are interrupted. There are a number of foods that can either aggravate or relieve symptoms of irritability, anxiety, mood swings, breast tenderness, cravings, and bloating.

Chocolate and chips tend to be comfort foods, and may seem to alleviate mood swings and irritability; at least for a short time. However, sodium in potato chips, caffeine in chocolate, and some ingredients of other quick and favorite feel-good foods may do more harm than good. Potato chips, nuts, soups, processed meats, cheeses, butters, and margarine all contain sodium. Sodium increases water retention, therefore increasing bloating. Dairy contains certain types of hormones that can interfere with the normal absorption of magnesium, a mineral that may be deficient during PMS. Caffeine in coffee, soft drinks and chocolate is a stimulant which can induce irritability, anxiety, depression, headaches and insomnia, while alcohol upsets blood sugar levels and interferes with magnesium and zinc absorption. There are much healthier choices that will help to alleviate, decrease, or even completely relieve symptoms of PMS.

Many health foods work wonders at relieving the suffering experienced during PMS. Herbal teas, grain coffees, or water with lemon are soothing beverages. Fennel tea, in particular, can reduce the soreness of breasts, and Chamomile tea contains properties which help to relieve muscle spasms and tension. Simply the warmth of a hot tea or grain coffee can calm nerves, reduce stress, and help with overall mood.

Potatoes with skins, peanut butter, chick peas, many types of beans, including soybeans, black, white, navy, pinto, lima and kidney beans, and whole-grain breads are all excellent sources of magnesium. Magnesium levels are thought to be deficient during PMS, and eating foods rich in magnesium may also help to regulate Serotonin levels. Proper levels of Serotonin will help to elevate moods, while simultaneously decreasing water retention.

An increase in Vitamin B6, as well as increased Potassium may help with irritability, depression, and breast tenderness. Potassium is provided by foods like tomatoes, bananas, citrus fruits, and green leafy vegetables, while Wild Salmon, extra lean beef, pork tenderloin, potatoes with skins, oatmeal, bananas and whole-grain breakfast cereals are all rich in Vitamin B6.

Due to the rapid absorption of carbohydrates, weight gain can become an issue during PMS. Choose lower fat and complex carbohydrates such as tuna on rye, grains, pasta, beans or fiber. To slow down carbohydrate absorption, add a small amount of mayonnaise or almond butter, which will help to considerably cut food cravings. To keep your blood sugar at a more stable level, you may also consider eating smaller meals more frequently, and drink lots of water. Contrary to popular belief, water actually helps to flush the system, therefore actually reducing water weight gain and bloating.

The effects of different types of foods on the body can be amazing. To pinpoint the most severe problems and find the best way for your body to help fight them, you may consider keeping a food journal. Incorporate subtle changes using the suggestions provided, and keep track of results to develop the most efficient plan to fight the symptoms of PMS.

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