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The PMS Free Diet

A week or two before your period starts, you may notice some symptoms, such as cravings (sweets or salties), acne, pain (back pain, headaches, tender breasts, joint pain…), mood swings (irritability, anger, crying spells, depression, anxiety…) These monthly symptoms are known as premenstrual syndrome, or PMS and about 85% of women experience some degree of it.
Now here’s some good news for all PMS sufferers. What you eat can really affect your PMS symptoms!! And sometimes, it is what you take away from your diet that helps and not what you add to it.

So what are the PMS remedies?

•Exercise: Exercise can help fight fatigue and boost your mood. To get the benefits, you need to exercise regularly and not just when PMS symptoms appear. Do either 30 minutes of moderate physical activity almost every day or vigorous exercise on fewer days.
•Diet Rich in B Vitamins: Foods rich in B vitamins may help to alleviate symptoms of PMS. Thiamine (pork, brazil nuts) and Riboflavin (eggs, dairy products) help reduce PMS.
•Complex Carbs: Eating plenty of fiber can regulate your blood sugar and keep it constant. Complex carbs, such as whole-grain breads and cereals, are packed with fiber. Fiber may ease mood swings and food cravings. Products rich in whole grains also have the PMS-fighting B vitamins, thiamine and riboflavin.
•Foods to Avoid: To decrease PMS symptoms, cut back salt which increases bloating; caffeine which causes irritability; sugar which makes cravings worse and alcohol which affects mood.
•Stress Relief: It’s important to find healthy ways to cope with stress, since PMS can cause tension, anxiety, and irritability. Different strategies that may help may be meditation, massage, writing, walking, talking with friends, getting enough sleep…
•Supplements: Folic acid, Magnesium, Vitamin E, Calcium and Vitamin B6 may reduce PMS symptoms.
•The Calcium Connection: Sufficient intakes of milk and calcium are linked with reduced PMS symptoms. PMS sufferers tend to have an altered calcium balance. Some calcium-rich foods are low-fat yogurt, non-fat milk, cheese, cooked spinach, cooked green soybeans, soy nuts. Supplements may help in case you don’t like dairy.
•Keep Your Blood Sugar Stable: Keeping your blood sugar levels stable helps your mood and energy situation. You can do this by eating balanced meals most of the time, not skipping meals and limiting caffeine. You can also choose nutritious carbs that are rich in fiber, like whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans.
•Don’t Eat a High-Fat Diet: High-fat diet may cause cyclic breast pain. So, avoid eating a high-fat diet to decrease breast tenderness.

Christelle Bedrossian
Beirut, Lebanon


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Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian