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NUTRITION FOR PMS

It's the time of the month again, and you're dreading it. Whether you've got stomach cramps, bloating, cravings, or mood swings, you've come to the right place.  We are going to cover everything you need to know about PMS from what causes PMS to how nutrition impacts PMS and what key nutrients to include in your diet.   We will also explore how hormones impact your monthly cycle.

WHAT IS PMS?

Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is a group of physical and psychological symptoms that occur in the days leading up to a woman’s menstrual period. It’s estimated that 75 percent of menstruating women experience one or more symptoms each month.

For most women, PMS symptoms usually peak during the second half of the menstural cycle. For some women, the symptoms associated with PMS may be more intense and regular with every cycle, for others, it may be an occasional occurrence. Either way, PMS is not something we should be experiencing if our hormones are in balance.

The most common PMS symptoms include: 

  • fatigue

  • mood swings

  • irritability

  • anxiety

  • brain fog

  • bloating and other digestive issues such as constipation or diarrhea

  • cravings

  • tenderness in your breasts

  • acne flare-ups

  • headaches

  • disrupted sleep

PHASES OF YOUR 

menstural cycle

There are four phases of your menstural cycle:

Follicular Phase 

Ovulation Phase

Luteal Phase 

Menstural Phase

Image by Paico Oficial

Your hormone levels will fluctuate throughout the month in preparation for your period and this can contribute to PMS symptoms. However, with the right nutrition, you can reduce the severity of symptoms. 

 
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WHAT CAUSES PMS?

Although there isn't any single cause of PMS there are several factors that can contribute to increased symptoms and severity.  

  • Nutrient Deficiencies (lacking key nutrients in our diet or issues with nutrient absorption)

  • Lack of Exercise 

  • Overconsumption of sugar, refined and processed foods

More research still needs to be done to better understand PMS and how/why it happens.

However taking steps throughout the month to nourish yourself well, move your body etc. will go a long way in setting you up for an easy breezy period.

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KEY NUTRIENTS TO INCLUDE IN YOUR DIET FOR PMS

B-Vitamins: These can help with water retention and mood fluctuations. Vitamin B6, B12 and folate in particular. Include food rich in B vitamins like bananas, eggs, dairy and leafy greens.

Magnesium:  Helps to relax smooth muscle contraction which will help with cramps and is also critical for adrenal health and can help to soothe anxiety and stress.  Include magnesium-rich foods like spinach, swiss chard, legumes and nuts and seeds. 

 

Calcium: Helps to reduce PMS  symptoms. Include calcium-rich foods like leafy greens and almonds. 

Protein: Include lots of quality protein, healthy fats and lots of fibre to help provide energy to your body, balance your blood sugar and support balanced hormones.  

 

Healthy Fats: Include plenty of Omega 3 fatty acids like wild-caught fish to help reduce cramping and pain associated with periods due to high prostaglandin levels. 

Watch Your Salt Intake:  High consumption of sodium can lead to bloating and fluid retention.  ​

Go Easy On The Sugar & Processed Foods: Focus on a whole foods diet. Diets that include too much sugar and refined carbohydrates can contribute to blood sugar fluctuations and lead to increased cravings and PMS symptoms. 

LIFESTYLE CHOICES TO REDUCE PMS SYMPTOMS: 

Exercise: Helps with bloating as it helps your body with digestion. Aim for more low-impact workouts during your actual period as your energy will likely be lower at this time. 

Hydration: You naturally lose a lot of water during your period, keep your body hydrated to relieve symptoms of fatigue and headaches associated with dehydration.

Get Enough Sleep: Menstruation demands a lot of energy from our bodies which explains why we often feel so tired during our periods. Make sure to get enough sleep or even increase the amount of sleep you are getting during your period to help your body do what it needs to do. 

Reduce Alcohol & Caffeine Intake: both can negatively impact our hormones, which can contribute to PMS symptoms. Try to avoid these altogether, but especially during your period. 

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Ready To Have A PMS Free Cycle? 

Grab the Happy Hormone Guide + 3-Day Meal Guide To get started with nourishing your body well all cycle long for an easy breezy period.   

Hire A Menstural Cycle Nutritionist To Help

Join the Hormone RESET a 4-month 1:1 supportive coaching transformation. 

This program is for busy women who struggle with symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Using DUTCH Complete Hormone Testing, we will uncover the root of your symptoms and design a personalized path back to balance.

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