Women’s monthly cycles often bring mood swings, increased hunger, bloating and more. Here’s how diet can help relieve symptoms of PMS.
For many women, the week or so before their monthly period is no fun. Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, can make them feel tired, bloated, hungry and irritable. But just because your monthly cycles are a fact of life, it doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do to ease your discomfort. Sometimes, a few simple changes to your diet can help relieve some of the most common symptoms of PMS.
What causes PMS symptoms?
It’s not entirely clear what causes PMS symptoms, or why some women suffer more than others. It seems natural to blame monthly hormonal shifts for PMS; they are certainly a contributing factor. But it appears that there are also changes in brain chemicals that can influence mood, bring on food cravings or even disrupt sleep.
How diet can relieve symptoms of PMS
Dietary changes alone can’t totally eliminate your discomfort. However, they can go a long way in alleviating some of the most common PMS symptoms: bloating, increased appetite, food cravings and mood swings.
To relieve symptoms of fluid retention, reduce your intake of highly salted foods like as snack foods, canned soups, pickles, processed meats and salty condiments. Although it sounds counterintuitive, plenty of fluids will help your kidneys to remove excess water and salt. So, drink plenty of water or tea throughout the day.
To relieve symptoms of increased appetite and food cravings, try to avoid highly processed carbs and sugary foods. They lack the staying power of lean proteins and high-fiber foods that can help you feel full and satisfied. Satisfy cravings for crunch and salt with some carrots dipped in hummus or mashed avocado. Pair a handful of nuts with a piece of fruit for a satisfying snack that can help curb your urge for sugar.
To relieve symptoms of irritability and mood swings, eat balanced meals and snacks throughout the day. Many women turn to sugary, high carbohydrate foods to boost mood. But eating these foods may lead to wild swings in your blood sugar levels, which can affect mood and concentration. To maintain more even blood sugar levels throughout the day, have protein with each meal and snack. And focus on slow-acting carbohydrates, such as vegetables and whole grains.