Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is the dreaded symptom of a woman’s monthly cycle that affects millions worldwide. In fact, more than 85% of all women experience menstrual cycle related discomfort every month, but what if I told you that there are foods that help fight PMS?
When I went raw vegan back in 2009, I was pleased to find out that all of my PMS symptoms disappeared. This was likely due to the fact that I got rid of all inflammatory foods, and increased my consumption of fresh fruit and veggies, which are loaded with beneficial vitamins and minerals that help ease menstrual pain (and the emotions that come with it).
Foods You Should Avoid
– Salty foods, to help reduce fluid retention and bloating
– Highly refined and processed carbohydrates like chips, crackers, snack foods as well as sweets (candy, cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, jams, jellies, soda), all of which increase moodiness and irritability
– Caffeine, because it increases anxiety, tension and irritability
– Alcohol, because it makes us even more depressed and moody, and can worsen cramps.
Here are 10 plant-based foods that help fight PMS:
Leafy Greens (Kale, Spinach, Romaine)
Leafy greens are rich in beneficial minerals and vitamins that keep your skin clear (thanks to vitamin A) and moods stable (rich in B vitamins). These leafy greens are also a great source of iron and magnesium, two crucial minerals that help build our blood (so we don’t feel so faint) and relax blood vessels (prevent headaches and relax muscles).
These incredibly tasty seeds are high in magnesium, so they help ease PMS headaches and body aches. Make sure you soak your pumpkin seeds in water overnight to help increase digestibility.
One of the best PMS-relieving foods, bananas help reduce depression, bloating, gas, and menstrual pains. They are rich in B6, helping to regulate blood glucose levels and improve your mood! Skip the Midol and ibuprofen, grab a banana!
Women who include more thiamin-rich foods in their diet can reduce the incidence of PMS by about 35%! Green peas are a great source of thiamin, and can be made into a tasty green pea soup or sprinkled on salads.
Chia seeds, which are high in fibre, help draw away excess estrogens and thus help relieve anxiety- and depression-related symptoms. They are also a wonderful source of calcium, which is thought to influence estrogen’s action in the body. Women with higher calcium intake have been shown to suffer 30% less from PMS symptoms than individuals who have lower calcium intake.
Broccoli is another green vegetable that is high in calcium, and thus helps ease PMS symptoms. Broccoli is also a great source of fibre, helping to ease bloating. Their high water content also helps reduce puffiness and gas, while improving the rate of which things move along in the intestinal tract, thus reducing abdominal discomfort.
Who doesn’t love chickpeas? They contain three different nutrients, namely, magnesium, vitamin B6 and manganese, all of which ease the annoying symptoms of PMS. Magnesium helps reduce bloating and water retention, while vitamin B6 improves our mood and reduces depression and breast tenderness. Manganese is also helpful in combatting a negative mood and irritability.
PMS is thought to be a result of hormonal imbalance of progesterone and oestrogen. Thankfully, this can be reversed by consuming high-mineral foods like berries, which contain a healthy serving of magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron and calcium.
Ginger and Turmeric
Inflammation is one problem associated with PMS that contributes to body pains and cramps. Ginger and turmeric are two of the best highly-effective anti-inflammatory herbs, and also help stimulate the digestive tract to ease constipation and cramps. I love including these two natural remedies in juices and smoothies whenever I can!
Figs are a great source of magnesium and fibre, and so they pack quite a powerful anti-PMS punch! Women with PMS often have lower blood levels of magnesium than women without. This is no surprise, given magnesium’s powerful effects at relaxing the muscles and easing painful cramps.