That time of the month when the house becomes a little noisier than usual, the fights a little feistier, and almost everything around a little more annoying. You feel bloated, irritated, angry, sad, hungry and nauseated and almost every feeling that humans can possibly feel, all of them one after the other, without any rhyme or reason.
This maddening phenomena is called PMS, or Pre-Menstrual Syndrome.
Ask 10 women what PMS does to them and we bet you’ll get 10 different answers! Some will say they bloat up and feel like a cow, some will tell you that their breasts become tender and almost unbearable, a few women get affected with hideous acne breakouts, while others will complain of headaches.
Basically, PMS is a result of changes in the hormone levels in your body. When estrogen and progesterone are unbalanced, they may lead to decrease in serotonin and endorphins causing mood swings. Research shows 75% women experience some or the other PMS symptoms in varying degrees.
Your diet plays a way more important role than you think it does. The way you feel, largely depends on what you eat and don’t eat. And it surely plays an important role when you are PMSing.
So these are the foods to eat and avoid when you are PMSing.
Foods to Eat:
- Water – Drinking water, which is helpful, even otherwise, is especially beneficial during PMS. Drinking ample water can help your body get rid of the excess sodium and reduce bloating, however counterintuitive it may sound. It also relieves stomach cramps, and helps with the mood swings.
- Omega-3 fatty acids – These help reduce inflammation, cramping, breast pain and soreness. Don’t forget to include walnuts, fatty fish and flax seeds in your diet.
- Calcium & Vitamin D – They ease the muscular contractions and relieve cramping. Calcium also reduces breast tenderness and swelling. Get 2 to 3 servings of calcium- rich dairy products every day.
- Magnesium – Low magnesium levels cause a shortage of dopamine – a hormone that regulates mood. Appropriate amounts will relieve you of tension and anxiety as well as reduce water retention and bloating. Nuts, spinach, whole grains and pulses provide magnesium.
- Vitamin E – Vitamin E can reduce cramping and anxiety. Almonds, sunflower seeds, vegetable oils and avocados all contain Vitamin E. Using these for cooking is a good idea, not just during your PMS, but even otherwise.
- Vitamin B6 – Could help you stay off premenstrual weight gain and anxiety. Chicken, turkey, avocados, spinach and bananas will do the trick.
Foods to Avoid:
Caffeine worsens PMS symptoms – aggravates breast tenderness and swelling, irritability and headaches. So you might want to give up on that cup of coffee when your monthly cycle is due.
Alcohol worsens PMS symptoms and may cause prolonged cramping during the period.
Sugar in form of chocolates and ice creams. Romantic movies might inspire you to indulge in some, but believe us, it might be a momentary pleasure that does nothing to help lift your mood. If at all, you might end up feeling guilty about that bar of chocolate or a tub of ice cream you emptied in a weak moment of indulgence.
Sodium – Watch your salt intake because excessive consumption of salt is surely going to make you feel more bloated. Salt causes water retention and, thereby, swelling. So it is best to avoid chips, papads, pickles, chutneys and processed foods around this time of the month.
Along with the above, also:
- Exercise regularly – Not strenuous exercises, but regular walks, light stretching or Yoga is advisable. It increases endorphins and dopamine (these make you feel happy) and serotonin (reduces anxiety and depression), thereby taking care of your mood swings.
- Indulge in stress-relieving activities – Get enough sleep and practice Yoga and Pranayam to alleviate stress levels. Aromatic bubble baths and massages are great stress busters as well.
So with all this information we hope you ditch your PMS (Pretty Miserable Symptoms) and relax!