10 Natural Ways to Beat Premenstrual Blues
Women generally hate their monthly cycle due to the correlated problems. This is because during those days, their personalities and behaviour alter, albeit temporarily, causing a lot of physical, mental and emotional distress. In this article, lets ponder over the symptoms, problems and solutions to PMS and PMDD.
PMS or Premenstrual Syndrome is a common occurrence for almost 85% of women in their reproductive age. A condition with an amalgam of symptoms that range from mild to moderate, these show up a week or two prior to their menstrual cycle, causing physical and emotional changes. However, the symptoms resolve with the end of the menstrual period. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of PMS with extremely acute symptoms affecting about 3% of women. This affects and interferes with social and professional behavior and relationships.
Symptoms of PMS
The symptoms of PMS are different for each person and may vary from mild, moderate to severe:
- Changes In Appetite
- Breast Puffiness
- Breast Tenderness
- Bouts Of Weeping
- Trouble Sleeping
- Fluid Retention
- Food Cravings
- Bad Temper
- Joint Aches
- Muscle pain
- Memory/concentration problems
- Mood fluctuations
- Gorging On Food
- Swollen Hands or Feet
- Weight Gain
Causes of PMS
The accurate reason for PMS or PMDD is unknown. However, most studies point towards the hormonal changes that take place during the menstrual cycle. Nevertheless, recent studies link changes in behavior to low levels of brain chemical, serotonin that helps transmit nerve signals. Specific type of brain cells utilize serotonin to influence sleep, pain, attention and mood. Persistent changes in serotonin levels result in symptoms of PMDD. Nonetheless these daunting systems need not overtake life as to overcome this condition is not very difficult. By making slight adjustments in diet and lifestyle practices one can find relief from this condition.
Helpful Hints to Combat PMS Symptoms
Although there is no permanent cure for PMS, following a healthy lifestyle and making dietary changes go a long way in alleviating those dreadful symptoms.
1) Iron Fortified Foods
There is no particular diet to beat the symptoms of PMS. Generally, these unpleasant symptoms occur due to insufficient essential minerals and vitamins in the body. Hence, it is crucial for women to consume a balanced healthy diet dense in vital nutrients. Therefore, Vitamins fortified with iron are perfect for additional nutrition, especially for vegetarians who do not receive adequate amounts of iron from their diets. It is essential to take an iron-rich diet such as lentils, tofu and spinach during PMS and monthly cycle.
2) Calcium Enriched Foods
According to Research, taking 1200 mg of calcium for prolonged periods help ward off PMS symptoms. Calcium proves very effective as they work in the brain to lighten depressive symptoms such as anxiety and mood swings. However, the results were effective with calcium rich foods than with mere supplements or a combination of both. Hence, it is imperative to take three servings of calcium rich foods such as yogurt, low fat milk, cheese, orange juice, green vegetables, almonds pulses, sardines, kale, collards and broccoli. However, it is very difficult to receive vitamin D substances from food alone. Hence taking a supplement would ease combat symptoms.
3) Magnesium Rich Foods
Foods enriched with magnesium helps normalize serotonin levels in the brain, which plays a crucial role in mood control. Besides this, magnesium helps balance the body fluids, thus preventing fluid accumulation, one of the main symptoms of PMS. Furthermore, this element helps the muscles relax, swelling mood swings and irritation. Since most of the women suffering from this condition are magnesium deficient, taking the recommended daily allowance of 310-320 mgs of this vital nutrient proves beneficial. Good sources of magnesium include green leafy greens such as spinach, seeds, dry fruits, whole grains, nuts and Lentils.
4) Take Good Fats
Taking foods with ample amounts of omega3 fatty acids help stabilize the hormones in the body,
stimulate serotonin in the brain and soothe inflammatory conditions. Since the body does not produce these healthy omega3 fats in the body it is best obtained from natural food sources in the form of fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, herrings, trout, mackerel and pilchards. Apart from this, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts and hemp seeds too provide the required doses of omega3 fatty acids.
5) Foods High in VitaminB6
Several studies have established the effectiveness of Vitamin B6 on PMS symptoms. This is mainly because vitamin B6 plays a crucial part in the synthesis of certain brain chemicals that has tremendous influence on the mood and well-being of a person. Furthermore, this vitamin is crucial for the absorption of magnesium and zinc, other vital nutrients to beat the premenstrual blues. Therefore, include foods such as wild salmon, chicken breast, lean beef, oatmeal, chickpeas and bananas for relief.
6) Avoid Processed Foods
Avoid foods laden with saturated and trans fats as these contain high amounts of sodium that has a tendency to worsen bloating and other inflammatory conditions in the body, making PMS symptoms dreadful.
7) Restrict Salt Intake
Excessive intake of salt, besides increasing blood pressure, encourages water retention and bloating in the body. Therefore, during period time it would be wise to cut down salt intake to 500-2000 mg in order to prevent swelling, bloating, breast tenderness and fluid retention. For this reason, it is wise to cut down on foods consisting of high salt content, such as packaged snacks, soy sauce, canned soups, raisin bran flakes, frozen meats and chocolate pudding.
8) Avoid Caffeine/ Alcohol
Caffeine is another substance that aggravates PMS conditions. This causes insomnia, breast tenderness and puffiness, irritability, anger, nervousness, and low energy levels. Therefore, during those days avoiding caffeinated drinks such as colas, tea and coffee sure help. Similarly, alcohol consumption too produces a grouchy and melancholic feel increasing menstrual cramps and pain. Despite the fact that alcohol and caffeine provide diuretic effects, these require more water intake to ward off dehydration.
9) Small Frequent Meals
a group of women, who experience PMS, are more susceptible to variations in blood sugar levels. Therefore taking small meals at regular intervals, normalise blood sugar levels. In addition, it thwarts fatigue, headaches, irritability and moodiness. A high carbohydrate diet aside from shooting blood sugar and blood pressure levels, also cause swelling and water retention in the body. Therefore, it is wise to consume foods containing quarter parts each of fat and protein along with half amounts of carbohydrates, to enable slow absorption of sugar and sustain healthy blood sugar levels.
10) Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Above all pursuing healthy eating habits, regular exercise or yoga and following a regular sleep pattern helps cope with stress related symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.