Health tips to help reduce PMS symptoms

Picture: iStock

One of the best ways to treat PMS symptoms is by having a healthy diet, which is good for your body and overall health.

Being healthy can help reduce premenstrual syndrome symptoms, says Gert Coetzee, a pharmacist and diet pioneer who founded The Diet Everyone Talks About.

Premenstrual syndrome, also known as PMS, is a combination of emotional and physical symptoms that occur before and during your period. That time of the month when women experience skin breakout, tender breasts and mood swings. In some women, menstruation causes nausea, dizziness, diarrhoea as well as leg and lower back pains. As a result, some women experiencing PMS end up binge-eating.

According to a study, ovarian hormones play a significant role in women eating badly during their period. The high levels of progesterone (the hormone that is mainly produced in the ovaries) during the premenstrual phase are what can cause compulsive eating. Chocolate and other sweet decadents are some of the most common things that women crave with PMS. This is because the high levels of hormones before and during the menstrual cycle cause an increase in insulin. The high level of insulin in your body results in low blood sugar, which is why a lot of women crave something sweet.

PMS symptoms are different for every woman. Below are some symptoms that can be experienced:

  • Bloating
  • Tender or swollen breasts
  • Backache
  • Headache
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Stomach cramps
  • Mood swings
  • Food cravings and changes in appetite
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

One of the best ways to treat PMS symptoms is by having a healthy diet, which is good for your body and overall health. Eating well not only benefits your physical health but it also improves your emotional and mental well-being. It is normal to feel more hungry than usual when you are on period. However, using this as an excuse to eat everything you can lay your hands on is counter-intuitive, as you will eat the wrong foods. However, if you’re having a craving that you can’t control, it is okay to have a controlled portion of what you desire.

Gert said: “When your period comes, you want nothing more than to indulge in sugar and carbs, but the good news is that there are healthier and effective ways to deal with PMS. Eating and exercising can control the irritability, depression and mood swings.”

Below are some hints and tips on how to deal with your PMS symptoms in a healthy way:

  • Reduce your salt intake: Eating less salt is recommended for people experiencing breast tenderness and bloating. Rather cook your own food instead of eating processed food or takeaways and replace salt with herbs when you cook.
  • Eat avocados: Make sure that you eat avocados if your PMS symptoms include muscle cramps, cravings and bloating. Avocados contain potassium, which helps protect against muscle cramps.
  • Drink water: It is advisable to drink a lot of water as it helps reduce bloating. Drinking water is a good idea if dehydration is one of the symptoms that one experiences when they have PMS. Substitute alcohol, sugary drinks and caffeine with water as this is also good for your overall health.
  • Include fruits, vegetables and whole grains: Incorporate fibre-packed fruits and vegetables with whole-grains such as oatmeal, rye bread and brown rice. These foods are rich in minerals and vitamins that can help reduce PMS symptoms.
  • Don’t consume excessive sugar: Craving for sugar is common when you are experiencing PMS. While a little is okay, excessive intake of sugar can result in hormonal imbalance.

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