PMS: How To Fight Back With Food

You’d be hard-pressed to find a woman who hasn’t experienced the emotional and physical turmoil that is PMS. Unfortunately, due to mainstream media and film, the societal perception of PMS—especially in the United Stateshas become one of mockery and shame. But the real shame is how these stereotypical assumptions and jokes reinforce gender bias, which perpetuates the false narrative that a period is a sign of weakness.

We’re here to tell you, it is not.

Yet, like most women, we aren’t strangers to the sometimes disruptive symptoms that accompany our menstrual cycles. Our 
Moon Bites help to address many of the issues brought on by PMS, but there is more you can do: conscious eating and intentional supplementation—through food sourcescan aid the body to rid itself of many infamous PMS-related symptoms.


What Is PMS?

PMS is an acronym for Pre-Menstrual Syndrome. It varies from person to person, but generally entails symptoms such as mood swings, acne, starchy carbohydrate and sugar cravings, irritability, exhaustion, bloating, low self-esteem, and anxiety. The list is by no means exhaustive and each woman’s experience is quite unique.

PMS typically occurs during Phase 2—also known as the Luteal Phaseof our cycles, between ovulation and menstruation. Exposure to chemical-laden products, stress-induced cortisol roller coasters, and nutrient-deficient diets are among the most common hormone disruptive triggers women experience. These triggers can cause higher levels of estrogen to be present during this phase, when progesterone should, in fact, be greater in concentration.

 

How To Beat PMS

One of the best things you can do for your body is to address the key micronutrients that may have been compromised from years of exposure to hormone disruptors. Then, find the foods that contain these micronutrients, to naturally help your body replenish its stores.

Here are six things you can begin to incorporate into your diet:


  • Magnesium & Dark Chocolate
  • There is a reason women reach for dark chocolate during Phase 2 of the menstrual cycle. It’s rich in magnesium, which is a common deficiency among women. Magnesium is a nerve and muscle relaxant and can lower stress, anxiety, and improve the frequency of bowel movements, as well as reduce fluid retention, which causes bloating. So, go ahead and enjoy dark chocolate to up your magnesium, just make sure it’s at least 70% cacao and that you can pronounce all of the ingredients.

  • Omega 3s & Wild Caught Salmon
  • Wild caught salmon is a fantastic source of Omega 3s and Vitamin D3, both of which are needed to prevent excess accumulation of estrogen in the female system. Omega 3s are known to help with mood consistency, as well as cramp prevention.

  • Vitamin E & Sweet Potatoes + Almonds
  • Sweet potatoes and almonds are great dietary additions as they contain dense levels of Vitamin E. Vitamin E helps protect the body from inflammation—think less breast tenderness—and has other antioxidant benefits. We love that we include almonds in our Vanilla Almond Moon Bites.

  • Vitamin C & Leafy Greens + Citrus
  • Vitamin C is one of the most powerful cleansers of excess estrogen. It is found in its highest quantities in dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, and chard and in citrus fruits. Did you know that these immune-boosting foods also had these PMS healing properties?

  • Vitamin B6 & Sunflower Seeds
  • Sunflower seeds, a key ingredient in our Cacao Coconut Moon Bites, are not only a great source of selenium, but also of the powerhouse micronutrient Vitamin B6. This vitamin initiates the enhancement of progesterone in the body.


  • Calcium & Broccoli + Kale
  • Let’s not forget about calcium. And don’t look to cow’s milk for it (but that is a whole other conversation, which we hope to cover in another post). In fact, kale, broccoli, figs, and sardines are all good sources of this micronutrient. Calcium is a key healer of hormonal acne as well as fatigue and depression that is often caused by excess estrogen.

    This list might feel overwhelming, so don’t despair, you can start by adding one or two of these foods into your diet each week. If you’re eating a lot of these foods already, try timing their consumption when you’re in Phase 2 of your menstrual cycle. Of course, integrate them slowly and find what works best for you and your symptoms.

    PMS may be common but it is not inevitable. Enjoy using these tips to heal your symptoms naturally and let us know in the comments how they work for you!

     

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    This article was written by Talia Vilaplana, who interns with Food Period as a Business Strategist. She has her BA from Scripps College and is about to embark on training to be a Nutritional Therapist Practioner. You can connect with her at talia@foodperiod.com.

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    Sources:
    Thys, J, 2000. Micronutrients and the premenstrual syndrome: the case for calcium. The Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 19(2), 220-7.

    Wyatt KM, Dimmock PW, Jones PW, O'Brien PM. Efficacy of vitamin B-6 in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome: systematic review. BMJ. 1999 May 22;318:1375-81.

    Sohrabi, N, Kashaniana, M, GhafoorI, S, Malakouti, S, 2013. Evaluation of the effect of omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome: “A pilot trial”. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 21:3, 141-146.

    Fathizadeh, Sanaz, Amani, Haghighizadeh, Hormozi, R, 2016. Comparison of serum zinc concentrations and body antioxidant status between young women with premenstrual syndrome and normal controls: A case-control study. International Journal of Reproductive Biomedicine, 4:11, 699–704.

    Ghanbari, Z,Haghollahi, F, Shariat, M, Foroshani, A, Ashrafi, M, 2009. Effects of Calcium Supplement Therapy in Women with Premenstrual Syndrome.Taiwanese Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 48:2, 124–129.

    Walker, A, De Souza, M, Vickers, M, Abeyasekera, S, Collins, M, Trinica, 2009. Magnesium Supplementation Alleviates Premenstrual Symptoms of Fluid Retention.Journal of Women's Health, 7:9, 124–129.



    Disclaimer: Our blog, The Bloody Times, is not meant to be a substitute for Professional Advice from Your Professional Care Provider and We make no warranties, express or implied, as to the completeness, accuracy, or appropriateness for any purpose of any information or content contained in The Bloody Times. You are advised that health advice and other Professional Advice is often subject to updating and refining due to medical and other research and developments. We are committed to bringing you the most up to date information, however, We make no guarantee that the information herein is the most recent on any particular subject. You are encouraged to consult with your healthcare provider or other Professional Care Provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding any health condition or any other Condition that you may have before starting any yoga, Pilates or other exercise program, making changes to your diet or engaging in any other activity or program described in The Bloody Times.

     

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