How to Eat to Beat PMS

Premenstrual Syndrome, commonly called PMS, typically occurs during the week leading up to menstruation and can manifest itself in a variety of symptoms. Symptoms vary from woman to woman, and sometimes vary for a woman from month to month or year to year. The length and severity of PMS symptoms are affected by many variables, some of which are out of your control, including age, genetics and health issues. However, you can control your diet: eat right to help beat PMS symptoms.


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    Eat a balanced diet that follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines.
    • Eat three square meals a day with moderate, balanced portions. Be sure to eat a protein-rich food with every meal. Protein balances out sugar levels in your blood and helps you to feel full longer.
    • Eat plenty of vegetables with every meal. Vegetables are high in water content which acts as a diuretic and helps filter your system. Vegetables are also high in vitamins and low in calories, making them a great part of a healthy diet.
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    Choose a healthy snack between each meal and after dinner.
    • A lean source of protein, such as a small piece of poultry, hard boiled egg, nuts, low-fat yogurt or cheese, should accompany every snack.
    • Fruit is a great snack as long as you also eat a protein with it. The water content in most fruits is even higher than many vegetables. The fruit, which is high in sugar, needs a protein to help your body to process it.
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    Be sure to get plenty of calcium in your diet. Studies have found high levels of women who report the worst PMS symptoms show deficiencies in calcium.
    • Low-fat dairy protein choices, such as yogurt, cheese, milk and ice cream, have the added benefit of providing calcium.
    • Green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach and broccoli are also high in calcium.
    • Eat fortified products such as breakfast cereals and nutritional bars if you need additional sources of calcium in your diet.
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    Increase the amount of magnesium-rich foods you eat if you have problems with water retention or irritability and mood issues.
    • Green leafy vegetables chosen for calcium, such as swiss chard and spinach, also have a high level of magnesium.
    • Snack on sunflower and pumpkin seeds, soybeans, cashews, peanuts and peanut butter, which are all high in magnesium.
    • Choose whole grain breads, brown rice, potatoes with skins on and salmon whenever they are options. All are healthy sources of magnesium.
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    Eat foods high in vitamin B-6 if your PMS symptoms include depression, mood swings or irritability. Vitamin B6 may also provide some help with breast tenderness.
    • Vitamin B-6 is necessary for the body to make dopamine, a mood neurotransmitter. Research is mixed, with some studies concluding that an increase vitamin B-6 is beneficial for PMS sufferers, and others reporting no correlation between the amount of B6 a woman consumes and her PMS symptoms.
    • Since foods that are high in B-6 are healthy in other ways too, there is no reason not to eat more of them.
    • Some good sources of vitamin B-6 include lean beef, pork, chicken breast and salmon. Other foods that provide high levels of B-6 are fortified cereals, oatmeal, bananas, lentils and white potatoes with skins on.
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    Beat the irritability and tension of PMS with manganese-rich foods. There are a limited number of foods high in manganese including: spinach, collard greens, lima beans, pineapple, raspberries, oats, wheat germ, walnuts and pumpkin seeds.


  • Drink chamomile tea, which is known for its ability to relieve muscle spasms and promote relaxation. Chamomile tea may be especially helpful if your PMS symptoms include cramps, irritability or inability to sleep.


  • Avoid caffeine when you are suffering from PMS. Caffeine can lead to increased irritability, mood swings, inability to sleep and tiredness.
  • Cut back on or eliminate your intake of alcohol and salt. This is especially important if your PMS symptoms include bloating, as both of these cause water retention. Alcohol consumption may also increase breast tenderness.
  • Limit your sugar intake to help prevent bloat and water weight gain. Always eat a protein with high-sugar foods to keep your blood sugar levels stable.

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Categories: Women’s Health