We’ve all been there. You’re snappy, bloated and exhausted – yes, it’s PMS at its finest. As many as 30 per cent of women experience moderate to severe premenstrual syndrome, and 5-8 per cent of us suffer severe from PMS or PMDD (Premenstrual dysphoric disorder).
But it doesn’t have to be this way. This PMS awareness month, make your time of the month more bearable with a few simple tweaks:
1 Avoid stimulants
Although a vat of tea and the contents of a bakery might seem particularly appealing right now, too much caffeine, sugary foods and alcohol will cause blood sugar imbalances, making your symptoms worse.
2 Reduce chocolate
Easier said than done, but persevere and you’ll reap the benefits – honestly. That’s because chocolate contains methylxanthines which may increase breast tenderness.
3 Eat watermelon
That bloated feeling that comes with PMS is caused by water retention. Feels counter-intuitive, but the best way to ease it is with a natural diuretic like watermelon.
4 Get some fresh air
Feeling a bit sorry for yourself, or your colleague topping the irritating charts? Step outside. Just a half an hour of fresh air will clear your head and calm nerves.
5 Love your liver
Keep your liver healthy and it will detoxify ‘old’ hormones, helping to reduce symptoms of PMS. Milk thistle helps keep the liver in great working order.
6 Avoid constipation
Bowels can become sluggish before a period, which encourages bloating and other symptoms. Eat plenty of foods containing soluble fibre such as oats, flaxseeds, bananas, apples, chickpeas and pulses to keep everything moving.
7 Get a good night’s sleep
Poor sleep can disrupt hormones levels, making your symptoms more severe. Ensure you get your eight hours by enjoying a cup of camomile tea and a warm bath before bed. For extra indulgence, add aromatherapy oils such as bergamot and lavender to your bath or use a pillow spray.
8 Don’t worry, be happy
Serotonin, our ‘happy’ hormone, can dip with PMS. Load up on foods high in tryptophan such as eggs, nuts and seeds, tofu, salmon and turkey, which help raise serotonin levels.
Yes, it feels like the last thing you want to do, but trust us. As well as helping keep weight in check, exercise encourages the release of ‘feel-good’ endorphins – both of which help repress PMS symptoms.
10 Try herbal remedies
Agnus castus is a traditional remedy used to help relieve symptoms of PMS, such as cramping and irritability. Find it in PremHerb PMS Relief.
Thanks to Clinical Nutritionist Suzie Sawyer