Combat PMS with Food

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Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) affects approximately 85% of menstruating women. It tends to get worse as women age and experience hormonal changes.  The main cause of PMS is an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone hormones.  Some symptoms of PMS are:

  • Bloating
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain

These symptoms usually occur a week prior to the periods.


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Certain foods are helpful in alleviating the symptoms of PMS. So add these foods in your diet.

Vitamin B: Research shows that the intake of vitamin B6 reduced depression, irritability and fatigue. Whole grain breads, cereals, peas, liver, kidney, bagels made from wheat, millet, oat, oat bran or multi grains are excellent sources of vitamin B.

Vitamin D: According to the Nurses’ Health Study co-ordinated by the University of Massachusetts, the intake of vitamin D and calcium foods reduced the incidence of PMS.  So add low fat or skimmed milk to your diet.

Vitamin E: Vitamin E helps in reducing the breast tenderness. Foods such as spinach, kale and lettuce are loaded with vitamin E.

Bananas: Bananas are good source of B6. They also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that the body converts into serotonin. The changes in serotonin levels cause depression and carbohydrate cravings. So adding bananas in your diet helps reduce these symptoms. Banana also relaxes the body and improves the mood.

Fiber: Soluble fiber helps in keeping the blood sugar levels stable. It helps in reducing the symptoms of overweight and cravings for food. Beans, seeds, oats, lentils and sweet potatoes are good source of soluble fiber.

Calcium: Calcium-rich foods like low fat dairy products, almonds, broccoli, soy beans etc. helps in reducing the symptoms of depression, mood swing and pain.

Magnesium: Low magnesium levels cause fatigue and headaches. Magnesium-rich foods like nuts, beans, tofu helps in combating these symptoms.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 Fatty Acids help in combating depression. They also enhance the positive mood.  Foods such as fish, salmon, sardines, walnuts, flaxseeds and canola oil are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Herbs: According to the available reports, using herbs in diet reduces the symptoms of PMS. Add herbs like mint, basil, sage, thyme etc in diet.

Herbal tea: Chamomile tea is beneficial in reducing cramps. Make a drink with a cup of boiled water and a tablespoon cinnamon; add a teaspoon of honey to it and drink while still warm. It is very helpful in reducing bloating.

Exercise: Exercises for muscle relaxation can greatly improve the mood. Massage therapy can also help relaxing yourself.


  • Use as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible.
  • Avoid saturated fats, salt, sugar, caffeine and alcohol.
  • Instead of taking three large meals take more small meals at shorter intervals to reduce food cravings.

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