Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Does your diet affect PMS?

Does your diet affect PMS?  For some it does.  Symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome are not the same for everyone.  We have come a long way in the last 10 years to understand more about the emotions and changes woman undergo during this time frame, and yes diet is showing a contributing factor.

Symptoms of PMS (but not limit to)                                                 
  • bloating, cramping
  • food craving and aversions, over eating
  • emotional highs and lows
  • anxiety, tension, irritability, uptight
  • lack of motivation
  • Fatigue
  • fainting spells
  • Hyper-somnia or insomnia
  • breast tenderness
  • swelling
  • headaches
  • back pain, abdominal pain
  • joint or muscle pain
  • weight gain
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • feelings of anger, rejection, and more

Prevention is key.  Most woman experience a difference physically and emotionally during the week leading into their menses.  If you notice a great deal of the these symptoms and/ or they interfere with your daily activities then lets change a few things.
  • Nutritionally a whole foods diet with minimal processed foods is a nice place to start.  Reduce the intake of sugars, refined carbohydrates, salt, caffeine, alcohol, saturated fats, and dairy products will help to balance the body and the changes it experiences. 
  • Also, increase your essential Fatty acids that you can find in seeds, nuts, and fish! 
  • Regular exercise is a huge benefit!  Exercise increases the oxygen levels in blood which helps with nutrient absorption.  Exercise also helps in releasing toxins from the body and balancing hormone levels.  
  • Stress management.  
  • Weight loss.  
Most of the woman who experience PMS have habits of a highly processed diet.  In a nutritional analysis published in 1983, Guy Abraham stated that "PMS patients consumed 62 % more refined carbohydrates than woman who did not have PMS.  Also, the study noticed 275 % more refines sugar, 79%  more dairy products, 77% less manganese, 78% more sodium, 53% less iron, and 52% less zinc.  The study also went on to suggest that specifically a diet higher amounts of dairy products will experience symptoms of anxiety, nervousness, and irritability."

What can you do?
1. Choose high quality carbohydrates like brown rice, whole grains, rye, oatmeal, barley, farro, and whole wheat.
2. Choose low fat or fat free dairy products and use moderation.
(These two steps shown to have great improvement on breast tenderness.)
3. Join a positive social group.  A study by Dr Anita Rapkins M.D. showed that woman who suffered from PMS had a decrease in serotonin levels after ovulation.  Studies have long shown that abnormal levels of serotonin have been linked to depression.  This is why the antidepressant Prozac is popular in elevating serotonin levels.  While taking Prozac can be a simple way of elevating serotonin, other studies shown that getting involved in social groups was just as successful in raising levels.  I personally feel this to be a more natural way to find an inner peace.  For one your can potentially balance yourself while finding support and friendship for times when needed.  This is how stress management can be effective.  Join a book club, tea group, fitness group, and ext to raise serotonin, decrease depression, and gain support! 
4.Step away from the normal American diet.  Increase fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes, and eat healthier.  A cleaner diet of whole foods has many health benefits but will aid in decreasing symptoms of PMS.  Following the Preventive recommendations will have you PMS free in no time.  

Specific Nutrients beneficial in decreasing PMS.  Focusing on a balanced healthy diet, unprocessed, will give you the needed nutrients listed below.
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Essential Fatty acids 
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Trytophan
 Additional reading 
New Study Shows Relief of Premenstrual Syndrome with Regular Isha Yoga Practice 


  1. This is very informative and helpful. I tend to have way less cramps when I eat healthy during that time.

    1. Hey Amanda, thanks for stopping by! :-) I know as women we all need to be able to throw these symptoms right out the window! Glad you have the tools to do so!

  2. Personally I have found this to be true. When I was younger and ate a diet much higher in fat and sodium I had almost unbearable PMS but as I make my way through my 30's my diet has naturally changed to more natural foods lower in fat and sodium and I don't have even a tenth of the PMS symptoms I had when I was younger.
    Life with our Family

    1. Same for me Desiree. I remember missing school and sport events, and it was all was due to Diet. I want to teach my girls this as they get older so they wont have the discomforts in their teens. :-) I am so happy to hear you don't experiences these anymore either!

  3. Your right, diet does have an affect on PMS, just like it does on everything else. You have a lot of great information in this post. I try to eat right the majority of the time, and serve my family meals that are healthy for use all. I have also noticed that when my vitamin levels are up, I crave less chocolate.

  4. I'm sure my nutrition does NOT help my PMS..I need to get my emotions under control around that time, it's NOT good for me or people around me. Great reminder and tips, thanks!

  5. I know that my diet does affect PMS and mood swings. Thanks for the tips!

  6. Very good information. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Replies
    1. Your welcome Renee! I hope some of this has been useful to you :-)

  8. This is great information. Thanks for sharing.