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Lady eating pasta with a happy expression

The top 5 foods to tackle PMS

23 Nov 2022 • 1 min read

Certain nutrients have been shown to help ease PMS, so where can you find them? Cramps, breast tenderness, fatigue, mood swings? If those symptoms affect you in the second half of your menstrual cycle, you’re not alone – 75% of women are thought to experience some form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).1 Luckily, there are ways to get a handle on those symptoms. Scientists have identified some key nutrients that can help ease PMS. Try these foods at that time of the month and you may find your symptoms are less likely to slow you down…

Can beans beat PMS symptoms?

Research has shown women who have low levels of the mineral zinc in their diet are more likely to experience PMS.2 Beans – such as black beans – are a good source.3 And they also contain magnesium,4 another weapon against PMS, shown to help smooth out moods.5

Oily fish for menstrual cramps

Rich in vitamin D, which has been found to help with PMS symptoms, the fat in oily fish may also play a role in helping cramps. This may be thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, according to the British Dietetic Association.6

Go green for wellbeing

Green leafy vegetables are beneficial for all aspects of our wellbeing – and PMS is no exception. Veg like kale, spinach and broccoli are good sources of calcium.7 A 2017 study, published in Obstetrics & Gynecology Science, found that calcium could ease PMS symptoms.8 These veg are also rich in iron. Scientists think women with low levels of iron are also more likely to experience PMS.9

Why you need wholegrain foods for PMS

A 2011 study by the University of Massachusetts found a diet rich in foods containing vitamins B1 and B2 can reduce PMS symptoms by up to 35%.10 But – crucially – research has found these vitamins only make a difference when they come from your diet. You can find them in wholegrains, such as oats and wheatgerm.11

Pasta for PMS?

Yes, really! If you experience carb cravings when you’re premenstrual, try keeping your blood glucose levels steady by choosing low-GI carbs that release their energy slowly, like pasta, porridge and wholegrain bread. Eating these foods helps keep blood sugar levels stable, which may in turn help PMS symptoms – and stop you craving unhealthy high-sugar foods that can worsen symptoms.12

Disclaimer

 

Sources

1. Mayo Clinic. Premenstrual Syndrome. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20376780
2. DiNicolantonio JJ, et al. Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Available from: http://openheart.bmj.com/content/5/1/e000668
3. Medical News Today. Everything you need to know about black beans. Available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/289934.php
4. Medical News Today. Ten foods high in magnesium. Available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318595.php
5. Ebrahimi E, et al. Effects of Magnesium and Vitamin B6 on the Severity of Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4161081/
6. British Dietetic Association. Premenstrual Syndrome. Available from: https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/pms.pdf
7. BDA. Food Fact Sheet: Calcium. Available from: https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/Calcium.pdf
8. Shobeiri F, et al. Effect of calcium on premenstrual syndrome: a double-blind randomized clinical trial. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5313351/
9. Chocano-Bedoya PO, et al. Intake of Selected Minerals and Risk of Premenstrual Syndrome. Available from: https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/177/10/1118/100730
10. Chocano-Bedoya PO, et al. Dietary B vitamin intake and incident premenstrual syndrome. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21346091
11. As Source 6
12. As Source 6
 
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