I’m here to tell you how to beat PMS blues with the power of food!
It seems to be an unwritten belief that women just have to suffer through premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Symptoms like low mood, anger, anxiety and mood swings. It’s just part of being a hormonal woman, right? WRONG! We women have suffered these unnecessary symptoms for too long.
While the exact cause of PMS mood symptoms is still under debate, most science points towards hormone imbalances disrupting the chemical messages in the brain which control mood. Research shows that increasing the intake of nutrients like vitamin B6, magnesium and calcium as well as fibre; and lowering the intake of high carbohydrate and high sugar foods (sorry!) can have a positive effect on the balance of hormones and therefore the mood of women before and during their period.
So while I know you probably just want to reach for the chocolate when that time of the month comes around, here are my top 6 nutritious options to help balance your mood!
Leafy green vegetables
Spinach, kale, pak choi, dark lettuces, broccoli, cabbage, watercress, etc should make an appearance at least daily. Especially in your diet in the days/week leading up to your period (or all month ideally!). Try adding them to a smoothie or soup or serve as a side lightly sautéed in coconut oil with garlic.
They are packed with vitamin B6, magnesium and calcium as well as providing valuable fibre which helps your body break down and eliminate excess hormones.
Nuts and seeds
They contain B6, magnesium, protein and fibre to balance your mood and hormones. I always carry some raw almonds, walnuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds with me so if I get peckish I’m not tempted by sweet sugary snacks.
With a lower GI (glycemic index) than white potatoes which means they do not spike blood sugar which can contribute to hormone and mood disruptions. Try roasting them in the oven with a little olive oil and sea salt.
A simple, versatile and packed with vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium and tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid which is a precursor to our happy hormone serotonin. Start your day with a couple of eggs and your mood should be balanced and lifted.
You will be less likely to reach for the biscuit tin mid-morning because the protein will keep you feeling full for longer.
Here’s a better choice than your usual caffeine-filled brew, it contains naturally calming l-theanine. Caffeine has also been shown to prevent efficient clearance of excess hormones which can cause the disruption which leads to low mood.
They’re little protein powerhouses and contain vitamin B6, magnesium and calcium as well as plenty of fibre to keep your hormones and mood in check.
Try this delicious smashed butter bean recipe as a healthier alternative to white potato mash.
1. Murray and Pizzorno (2010). The Encyclopaedia of Natural Medicine Third Edition. New York: Atria Paperback.
2. Louie (2002) ‘Calcium carbonate for premenstrual syndrome’, Canadian Family Physician 48:4 pp.705-707 http://www.cfp.ca/content/48/4/705
3. Williams et al (2005) ‘The role for vitamin B-6 as treatment for depression: a systematic review’. Family Practice 22: 5 pp.532-537
5. Marilyn Glenville