Nutrition experts are urging women to understand how their diet can affect their premenstrual symptoms.
Health and nutrition experts at Prepped Pots powered by MuscleFood.com have researched foods that can help ease premenstrual symptoms such as cramps, bloating and sadness as well as pointing out which foods to avoid.
PMS refers to the symptoms a woman experiences around a week or two before her period.
These symptoms can be both physical and mental and whilst they vary from woman to woman some common symptoms include bloating, backaches and cramping. Mental symptoms include sadness, anxiety and problems sleeping.
Around 90% of women experience premenstrual symptoms in some form, those who experience severe symptoms may find it impacts their day to day life.
The foods and drinks consumed the weeks before a woman’s period is due can play a massive part in PMS and choosing the right ones can relieve some of these symptoms.
Nutrition expert Ashleigh Tosh from Prepped Pots said: “Premenstrual syndrome is the name for the symptoms women experience about a week or two before their period is due.
“What a lot of women are unaware of is that our diets can actually help to relieve these symptoms.
“Caffeine can often heighten anxiety and worsen cramps and salty foods can cause bloating, cutting these out a week or so before your period can make a massive difference to PMS symptoms.
“There are also foods that can help ease some of these symptoms such as bananas and greek yoghurt which help our bodies regulate important nutrients.
“Managing our diet and nutrition is a great way to help relieve some of these PMS symptoms and can make this time of the month feel a bit more manageable.”
Foods to avoid:
Red meat is high in prostaglandins which is a hormone-like substance that causes the muscles in the uterus to contract. Higher levels of prostaglandins can cause more severe stomach cramps so it’s worth staying away from red meat in the weeks leading up to your period.
Caffeine actually causes our blood vessels to narrow which can reduce the blood flow to the uterus, making cramps more intense and painful. Try to avoid caffeine the week before your period is due and opt for decaf instead.
During the weeks leading up to your period it’s wise to limit your alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a depressant and can worsen any feelings of sadness or anxiety related to PMS, it can also worsen trouble sleeping.
Try to avoid overly processed and salty foods and snacks. High levels of salt cause water retention which is what leads to bloating and can make this symptom worse.
Foods to help PMS:
Peanuts are a great source of magnesium which can help regulate serotonin, the feel-good hormone, and regulate feelings of sadness. Just remember to avoid salty peanuts.
A lack of potassium can cause cramps and worsen period pains. Try to keep your potassium levels up by adding bananas to your diet a week or so before your period.
If you suffer from bad period cramps you may want to try chamomile tea as it’s known to be a muscle relaxant and can ease muscle spasms.
Studies have shown that high levels of calcium can reduce PMS symptoms such as bloating, depression and mood swings.