Got PMS? Over 85% of women can definitively answer yes to this question. Many women report mild to moderate symptoms while a small percentage has symptoms so intense that they may actually have PMDD or premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Approximately one-third of all women who experience PMS seek help from their doctors for the symptoms they cannot control on their own.
PMS is a catch-all name for a motley crew of symptoms that number over 150, as medical professionals recently recognized. Cramping is the most common along with breast tenderness, water retention, weight gain, mood swings, food cravings, irritability and even headaches.
Some women experience PMS symptoms throughout their menstrual cycle although the majority occurs between ovulation and the first bleeding of the period. Therefore you usually have seven to ten days of PMS, sometimes more and sometimes less.
With teenagers, it is harder to tell PMS symptoms from the regular hormonal imbalances of growth and maturity. However, as you get older and head into your 30s and 40s, PMS can become more intense unless you can find a way to control it to your favor.
The good news is that you have a large amount of control in controlling the severity or even occurrence of PMS. A healthy balanced diet is the key to eradicating most if not all your symptoms of PMS.
Boost your Calcium Intake
Scientists have pinpointed one possible culprit of PMS calcium deficiency. A lack of adequate calcium can contribute to cramping, food cravings and bloating. The recommended dosage of calcium per day is 1,200 milligrams per day which can be obtained through low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, fortified orange juice, spinach, broccoli, molasses, soybean, squash and more.
Sardines with the bone in, tofu, collard greens and soy nuts are other options. Of course, supplements can help too or even calcium fortified antacid tablets but deriving calcium from food and drink is preferable.
Other Diet Stuff
A diet in high in saturated fats and cholesterol is believed to contribute to breast tenderness and body aches and pains. The key is choosing the right kind of fats to include in your diet.
For instance, the monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are highly desirable and also contain omega 3 fatty acids, a substance essential for good heart and blood health. For some reason, it also alleviates breast pain, bloating and water retention.
Nuts, flaxseed, olives, dark chocolate and avocadoes all have the “good” fat in them. Avoiding processed foods that are not derived from nature can help you weed out the “bad” fat. In addition, is can help you reduce your salt intake as well. Too much sodium in the diet can cause bloating and fluid retention.
To combat the mood swings and other emotionally charged PMS symptoms, a boost of vitamin B6 in your diet should help. The desired target per day is approximately 75 milligrams. You can get it through foods such as bananas, turkey, shrimp, salmon and chicken. However, the amounts you can derive from your diet is small, so in this case, a supplement for vitamin B6 is fine.
Nutrition is half the battle you fight when you change your lifestyle to combat PMS. Make sure you introduce exercise into your daily routine. Aerobic exercise like dancing, swimming and walking are especially good. Exercise will brighten your mood, alleviate cramping and just make you feel good overall.