Some girls are naturally blessed enough to not have their periods ruin their lives on a monthly basis. Meaning, these fortunate women have no need for a vibrating hot water bottle while curled up in the fetal position for the monthly 5-7. I am not one of these women. The headaches, cramping, cravings, bloating, feelings and “period brain” are all common experiences in our menstrual culture today and seemingly come OUT OF NOWHERE every month. Well, I have come to enlighten you with the news that this is all preventable! In fact, the single most significant factor contributing to your PMS is the food you put in your mouth. Our diet has a direct correlation to our hormone imbalances and it turns out that all of these symptoms are NOT natural — we aren’t supposed to feel this way! All we need to do is gravitate toward the right foods and vitamins and these symptoms will drastically decrease, if not disappear altogether and balance your hormones naturally. I KNOW.
+ Magnesium relieves physical symptoms of PMS like water retention, weight gain and bloating (what to eat: leafy greens, nuts, pumpkin seeds, beans/lentils, fish, brown rice)
+ Vitamin B6 for cramp relief (what to eat: fish, bananas and walnuts)
+ Vitamin E to relieve inflammation (what to eat: kale, leafy greens, nuts and seeds)
+ Increase fiber to help absorb the excess estrogen from going into the blood and causing inflammation (what to eat: fruit, veggies, legumes, seeds and grains).
+ Start adding flaxmeal in your oatmeal, smoothies, cereal and wholegrain pancakes. My favorite brand is Bob’s Red Mill Whole Ground Flaxseed Meal.
+ Warm tea with raw honey relaxes the muscles and is a natural pain reliever.
+ Calcium helps prevent PMS (what to eat: broccoli, kale, figs, oranges)
+ Pineapples contain proteolytic enzymes which aid in muscle relaxation
+ Beets to reduce pain. Fun fact: Beets are fantastic to prevent against heart disease, so get them in your diet! They will help reduce your pain and protect your <3.
+ Dark chocolate (look for cacao content of 85% or higher) contains less sugar and no milk. Even better is RAW unsweetened dark chocolate for a ton of antioxidants and essential vitamins.
Also! Be sure to try what I like to call Magical Cramp Relieving Juice:
2 medium beets (not the greens)
1 small lemon with peel
3 – 4 leaves of kale
1/2 green apple
2 stalks celery
1 inch cube of ginger
Water + ice
Foods to avoid during PMS because they will actually make your symptoms worse:
+ Foods high in sodium
+ Milk or white chocolate
+ Flour-based food
+ French fries
+ Breads and pastas
+ Rich foods like aged cheese
+ Anything with preservatives
And finally, skipping meals triggers symptoms such as headaches and fatigue due to a drop in blood sugar level. So be sure to eat three square meals (all with protein) plus snacks. A full tummy will also help curb sudden emotional food cravings (a topic we will cover in an upcoming blog post). If you’ve made it this far on the period train, do not miss My Period Takes Me Shopping.
Please share your own food-as-medicine remedies for preventing cramps and PMS in the comments below!
Jessica Rothschild is a Holistic Nutrition + Fitness Coach helping people create a completely personalized roadmap to health that suits their unique body, lifestyle and goals. Jess offers private coaching specializing in deconstructing cravings, disordered eating and personal training. Her mission is to inspire, educate and empower people to become rockstars in their bodies and minds. Check out her work at www.facebook.com/caketokale.com.