Fight PMS Naturally - Christian Fitness

Fight PMS Naturally

Fight PMS naturally? When it’s that lovely time of the month again and you feel like a total mess, that’s not the first thing on your mind. You are physically and emotionally miserable and if you are like me, your first line of defense is several ibuprofen and chocolate. However, I’ve recently learned that the right foods can actually help to reduce and even eliminate your worst PMS symptoms. Below are some tips on how to avoid the craziness, and fight PMS naturally just by changing what you eat.

Reduce Inflammation

When PMS symptoms hit, it’s easy to reach for some ibuprofen. But remember, we want to fight PMS naturally, and we can reduce inflammation by watching the carbs. I know, probably not what you wanted to hear when you’d much rather grab some chips or pizza (me too). But studies have shown that cutting back on carbs can help to soothe inflammation. And the fact that carbs are often the culprit with unwanted wait gain, reducing or eliminating them sounds like a win-win.

TIP: This can be a good time to incorporate carb-cycling if you’re looking to shed some pounds anyway.

Lift More Iron

And I’m talking with your fork! Iron can help, not only with feeling run-down, but with developing PMS in the first place. The theory is that iron not only reduces muscle fatigue, but also helps with the production of serotonin, the brain chemical that helps to regulate your emotions. Eat foods like spinach, tofu, red meat, or cooked beans.

Increase Your Calcium

Studies have found that some women have lower blood levels of calcium around the time of ovulation. So adding extra calcium into your diet can make a difference with symptoms related to mood and bloating. Of course, it’s always important for women to get enough calcium-rich foods, but around the time of your period, there’s now even more incentive.

TIP: A bowl of fat–free or low–fat yogurt can help balance your calcium levels during your menstrual cycle. But your calcium doesn’t have to come from dairy – dark green leafy vegetables, some seafoods, and seeds can all be excellent sources of calcium as well.

Don’t skip meals

It’s easy for everyone, but especially PMS sufferers, to reach for processed foods to alleviate sudden or constant hunger. And this problem is only worsened when you haven’t been eating regularly and sensibly. Skipping meals when you have PMS is a recipe for disaster… it doesn’t relieve the problem, but rather compounds it. Cravings occur when the body’s level of blood sugar drops and the sleepies (or grumpies) kick in…which make it even harder to make smart nutrition decisions. So fight PMS naturally by feeding it BEFORE the blood sugar drops.

TIP: Rather than only squeezing in two or three meals a day, if you “graze” by eating five to six small, healthy meals you will regulate your body’s blood sugar levels and life will be much easier.

Skip the Salt

While you shouldn’t skip meals, you should skip the salt since bloating is a common PMS symptom and sodium is the common culprit in bloating. So you can cut down the bloating if you cut out the salt because salt just worsens water retention. And by salt, I don’t just mean table salt, I mean the sodium so prevalent in chips (which you won’t be eating anyway because they’re carbs), canned goods, frozen meals, bottled sauces and dressings (I know it doesn’t seem fair, but it will be well worth it).

Stay hydrated

In addition to cutting salt, staying well hydrated will actually help you lose water, not retain it. So there’s no need to reach for over-the-counter drugs to tackle PMS-related water gain and bloating…. fight PMS naturally by getting plenty of H20. And it doesn’t have to come from the faucet…plenty of foods have high water content, like lettuces, celery, sliced cucumbers, red bell peppers and carrot sticks.

TIP: Try to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water every day. So, if you weigh 130 pounds, divide that by 2, and you get 65. Shoot for at least 65 ounces of water every day.[/tip]

Get in your “iums”

Potassium and magnesium are excellent for helping to fight PMS naturally.

Potassium helps reduce PMS mood swings. And while bananas get all the potassium glory, pomegranates have even more. Red cherries, even oranges, dates and figs are good sources of potassium as well.

And if you’re crabby AND crampy, you need to get some more magnesium in your diet. Magnesium causes muscle relaxation and also helps regulate the activity of serotonin, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter that impacts mood. Kale, fish, nuts and seeds, beans and lentils, all are high in magnesium.

Vitamins are Your Friends

You know this already, but you probably don’t know why they’re so good for you. Here are a few benefits pertaining to PMS symptoms.

Vitamin A (carrots, sweet potatoes, green leafy veggies, and spices like paprika, red pepper, cayenne, or chili powder) helps regulate hormone levels and decrease cramping.

B6 (nuts, eggs, sweet potatoes) may help with bloating, cravings, tiredness, and mood swings.

Vitamin D (mushrooms and wild salmon) can also help with cramping (by up to 40%) and breast tenderness. Plus, the body can’t absorb calcium without it (see point 3).

Vitamin E (avocados, seeds and nuts, cooked spinach) helps to regulate hormone levels and decrease cramping.

TIP: Remember, you don’t have to eat these individually. You could easily make a soup that uses many of these ingredients…like a vegetable chili for instance. Just watch the salt.

Omega-3s baby!

Omega 3s have anti-inflammatory properties that can do the body good. Combine them with the vitamins and minerals just mentioned and your body will be ever grateful as you’ll help it alleviate cramps, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue, and crankiness. Fatty fishes like wild salmon are the best source. But nuts, beans, seeds, and spinach are good as well.

Love your liver

Your liver plays an important role in regulating your hormone balance, so try not to throw off its mojo with caffeine or alcohol. Did I just ruin your day? Give decaf tea a shot. There are excellent herbal decaf varieties like chamomile or raspberry tea that can not only help regulate hormones but also soothe anxiety during that time of the month. Plus think of all the money you’ll save from not giving it to Starbucks.

Eat Dark Chocolate

Ahhhh… I saved the best for last. We all love it and we now have a license to eat it! It’s high in magnesium, potassium, and iron, it’s good for your heart, helps regulate blood sugar, it… I lost you didn’t I? You’re daydreaming about chocolate aren’t you? I know I want some right now. And heck, as if you really need an excuse to eat it. But here’s the thing, you have to be disciplined with it and not use PMS as an excuse to eat it. Besides, it’s got caffeine, so if you eat too much of it, it’s gonna work against you anyway.

TIP: Buy only your favorite version of it, buy it in the smallest amount possible (so as not to eat too much), and put it in a very hard to reach place so you’re not constantly tempted by it.

PMS stinks…but if we try hard to fight PMS naturally, there are some great benefits. Not only will we feel better, we’ll be healthier in the process. So while I wish I didn’t have to deal with it every month, I won’t go down without a fight.