Uh Oh it’s that time of the month again and you feel like you’re becoming a whole different person. You are getting moody, feeling sluggish, have bloating and craving foods that you know you shouldn’t be indulging in.
Yes, you can go to the drugstore and get some over the counter medicine that will help to alleviate the pain and some of your symptoms; but did you know that the best defense to Mother Nature is through food? Wait a minute, I don’t mean curling up on the couch with a bag of chips or raiding the candy display at the grocery checkout. You can reduce your PMS symptoms and tame that monthly lion by including the following foods in your diet.
You don't know how many times I've heard"All I want is chocolate"
High Fiber Vegetables- While eating broccoli, brussel sprouts and dark green vegetables like this might seem like you’re only going to contribute to your period bloat these high fiber and water content foods can actually ease that belly discomfort by moving things along. Keeping your digestion going will ease gas, pain and puffiness. An added bonus to keeping your fiber intake up is that it has also been shown to regulate estrogen levels. We all know that fluctuating hormones during our period contribute to our ever-changing mood. Keeping things a little more level will keep you and everyone around feeling better.
Complex Carbohydrates– Eating foods such as brown rice, whole grain breads and sweet potatoes are the perfect fighter to your grumpiness. Slow digesting complex carbs are known to raise your “feel good” hormone, serotonin. Keeping your serotonin levels higher through the day will keep you more energized and feeling fuller too. Many women feel they need to follow an extreme low carb diet but it’s proven that those on this type of diet suffer from more depression and anxiety than those eating small amounts. Complex carbs are also full of B vitamins, which will reduce irritability and depression as well. Eating whole grains and whole foods like this keep you away from preservatives and other ingredients that can often times trigger mood swings through chemical reactions in your brain. Any foods that we can eat to maintain hormonal levels especially around our period are a welcomed thing..
A soothing bowl of warm whole grain oats can cure a case of grouchy and ease your tummy pain.
Lean Protein– Eating lean cuts of meat such as chicken turkey and beef can help increase your energy levels. Protein like this is high in vitamin B12, which will give you the energy to fight off that sluggish feeling you get during your monthly visitor. Whole eggs are another form of protein that is at your service to keep PMS at a minimum. We all no that with the changes in our hormone levels we get some ravenous cravings. By staying one step ahead of the cravings and hunger you can better stay on track with your nutrition. Starting your day with a meal that contains protein and healthy fats will keep you feeling more satisfied and energized during the day. Eggs are also high in vitamin D, A and E. These vitamins work hard to control the chemical changes in your brain that cause PMS.
Omega 3’s –The fatty acids are another mood booster. Foods like Salmon, nuts and flax can trigger production of serotonin and that will immediately boost your mood. Did you know that serotonin is the same chemical released when you bite into that chocolate bar? When that chocolate craving comes up simply get in the right Omega 3 foods and you will be sure to feel relief from your PMS and even better later on for not eating that chocolate candy. Nuts are also high in magnesium. Magnesium helps to reduce water retention and improve your mood
A few things to steer clear of when your “friend” comes for a visit would be caffeine, salt and sugar.
Caffeine - Yes it is a definite mood changer. It will put your mood into overdrive and then drop you like a hot potato when it wears off. When hormone levels are already fluctuating this week the last thing you want is to contribute to it. Try going decaf or opt for some mood soothing chamomile tea.
Sugary snacks – Here’s another thing that can send your day spiraling. Sugar can have the same effect as caffeine by bringing you up and then right back down. Not to mention what processed sugars will do to your body.
Salt - While maintaining a good level of sodium in your body is needed for energy and muscle production reaching for a bag of chips and salsa is not. You reach for that because you think it will help you feel better and get you through those cramps but all it will do it add to the water retention and bloat that you want so desperately to go away.