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The dreaded PMS symptoms that many women are just waiting for every month, some only with a 2 week window of feeling on top of their game and then it just hits them all over again! We put up with a lot as women, don’t we. PMS stands for Premenstrual Syndrome and is a combination of many different symptoms like mood swings, irritability, bloating, anxiety, weight gain, skin issues, fatigue, headaches, painful cramps and much more. Whilst mild symptoms are completely normal, when they are taking over your life then it’s important to address some underlying causes, but for the purpose of this blog, let’s talk about ways we can get through things a little easier whilst we work on those underlying causes.
It’s incredible how much a stressful month can lead to more severe PMS symptoms with your next period, indicating how much stress plays on our hormones and the importance of working on this first and foremost. Whilst more research is required on exactly why this is, higher stress has certainly been correlated with greater PMS symptoms and should be recommended as an important part of treatment. We can be taking all the nutrients and supplements to benefit our hormones, and be on the most perfect diet, though if stress is not managed, the PMS symptoms may never be rectified. Ways in which you may manage your stress include;
Adaptogens are a group of roots and herbs that help regulate your stress response , and I personally love them in times of high demand, anxiety, lack of sleep, mood issues, irritability and so on. There are many different types, though for PMS symptoms, ashwaghanda would be at the top of my list as it has been shown to calm anxiety, reduce your stress response and improve your mood, all of which help you deal with and even treat PMS symptoms if stress is a factor for you.
There are thoughts that we crave chocolate around our period due to it’s magnesium content, could this be true? Let’s think that anyway to give us right of way, yeah? Magnesium has been proven to lessen menstrual pain and overall PMS symptoms . Magnesium rich foods include cacao (the real stuff, not the classic block of chocolate if you can help it), dark green vegetables, as well as a range of nuts and seeds, and treat yourself to a strong magnesium salts bath by adding 2 cups and laying there for roughly 20 minutes. A perfect time to destress, too!
Of course, this is what can really drain our energy levels especially if you suffer from a heavy period. Consciously increase your iron consumption through foods such as red meat, liver (grass fed liver tablets are available so you don’t need to eat it!), dried preservative free apricots (they should be brown), dark leafy green vegetables, quinoa and legumes.
Try using turmeric in your food leading up to and during your period, as it has been shown to reduce the severity of PMS symptoms due to the reduction in inflammation and modulating our neurotransmitters which are our mood regulators such as serotonin, dopamine and melatonin.
Our digestion can often become more sensitive around this time, so focussing on warming and nourishing foods can take the load off your digestive system. A meal like chicken soup is simply perfect for you during this time, with the cooked vegetables, bone broth, slow cooked and tender chicken and anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric and ginger. A high level of raw vegetables can be difficult to digest for some, often due to low enzyme production for many different reasons, so opting for cooked vegetables over raw salads may be best for you during times when you’re feeling a little more digestively challenged. Of course, it is a time to ensure you’re avoiding those foods that you know upset your digestive system, and this is highly personal. Although you want to reach for the comfort foods due to feeling too unmotivated and tired to prepare anything, know that by taking the extra time now, it could make the rest of your day and days after much more enjoyable due to less inflammation, digestive issues, mood swings and more.
As I always stress, everyone is an individual, so please take into consideration your personal needs and ensure you are able to include these tips into your regime before diving in.