Women don’t have it easy when it comes to their cycles. While some sail through their periods like any other day, many suffer from PMS symptoms that can affect their performance in school and in work as well as their relationships. Luckily, there are ways to prevent this from happening.
The following five recommendations go beyond the blanket panacea of “eat well” and give you a more detailed description as to how certain nutrients, foods, and activities can relieve PMS symptoms.
Hormones are inextricably linked to your menstrual cycle, so regulating hormones is a core task to fighting PMS symptoms. Flax seeds contain lignans that help to balance hormone metabolism and block the effects of excess estrogen. Flax seeds are also high in fiber, which helps to relieve constipation and shepherd hormones out of the body. Use flax seed oil or seeds in your soups, smoothies, and salads to keep your hormones in check.
Calcium and Vitamin D
According to a study conducted by the University of Massachusetts and Harvard University, among the 1,000 women observed, those who had a high intake of both calcium and vitamin D experienced significantly fewer PMS symptoms. Women who had about 1,2000 mg of calcium and 400 IUs of vitamin D per day had a 40-percent lower risk of PMS than those who did not consume as much.
To get your PMS-preventing dose of vitamin D, eat spinach, kale, okra, collards, soy beans white beans, sardines, salmon, and fortified calcium foods such as orange juice, oatmeal, and cereal. As for vitamin D, consume fatty fish, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, and fortified foods such as dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals.
It may be the last activity you want to engage in, but it’s one of the first things you should consider doing to alleviate PMS symptoms: exercise. Exercising pumps blood faster through the body, delivering oxygen to all your body’s organs. This gives a boost to the brain and energy levels. However weak the scientific evidence may be to support this claim, obstetricians and gynecologists will be the first to recommend moderate exercise to deal with PMS symptoms. Hop on the elliptical and research the topic yourself. Chances are, your PMS will ease.
Vitamin B6 and Folic Acid
Suffering from negative PMS symptoms is often attributed to nutritional deficiencies that only pique when the body is in a more vulnerable position, such as prior to or during the period. Birth control pills can cause deficiencies in vitamin B6 and folic acid. This can lead to depression and fatigue during the period.
B6 is present in fish, beef, turkey, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains. In a study evaluating the effectiveness of vitamin B6 in treating PMS, results suggest that it does indeed help. Nearly 940 patients were evaluated, with some given a placebo while others a B6 supplement. Those who took B6 showed an improvement in PMS over those who took a placebo. Take 50-100 milligrams per day. As for folic acid, take 400 micrograms per day. A folic acid deficiency can lead to lethargy or even anemia.
Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)
It’s a mouthful, sure, but it’s a simple fix that can make a noticeable difference. GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid that comes from plant-based oils, such a borage seed oil, evening primrose oil, and black currant seed oil. The body cannot make GLA itself and must get it from a food source. While scientific evidence does little to support GLA’s role in PMS relief, women often report its help in reducing feelings of depression, irritability, swelling, and fluid retention.