Say no to sugar and caffeine What you eat is the foundation of your health and it is a crucial aspect of not only preventing, but also treating PMS. The most important dietary change you can make is to keep your blood-sugar levels steady: the higher your sugar (and caffeine) intake, the more severe your symptoms are likely to be. If possible, cut out sugar and caffeine completely. Also, try to eat every three hours as this prevents your blood sugar levels from dropping and stops the release of your stress hormones, which block the hormone progesterone in the second half of your cycle.
Top up on vitamins and minerals Supplements are the best way to make sure you have enough of the essential nutrients to balance your hormones. Certain nutrients can be hugely beneficial when it comes to reducing PMS symptoms.
Both magnesium and vitamin B6 are very important when it comes to controlling your mood and behaviour. Vitamin B6 supports production of dopamine and serotonin (a ‘happy’ hormone) and magnesium is classed as ‘nature’s tranquilliser’ as it helps to reduce anxiety and tension.
Zinc is an important mineral as it is a component of more than 200 enzymes. It may help balance female hormones as it plays a main part in the proper action of many of them, including insulin and sex hormones.
Many women who suffer from PMS have been found to have a problem with converting linoleic acid (LA) to GLA, a plant-derived omega 6. There are many factors that can prevent that conversion, like stress, a high-sugar diet or low levels of vitamin B6, magnesium and zinc. To provide our body with efficient amounts of GLA you can supplement these essential fatty acids in the form where the conversion has already happened – by taking evening primrose oil, borage oil or starflower oil.
Brew yourself herbs Apart from reducing your intake of salt and salty foods and drinking more water you can also start drinking dandelion tea to reduce water retention. Dandelion is a natural diuretic, which allows fluid to be released without losing vital nutrients at the same time. It is one of the best sources of potassium and contains more minerals and vitamins than any other herb. It is known to support detoxifying in your body.
Trigger those ‘happy’ hormones When you exercise your body produces ‘happy’ hormones, endorphins. They help us to feel happier, calmer and more alert. If you exercise regularly you are more likely to reduce stress levels, anxiety and depression, which are common PMS symptoms.
… And relax! Stress is a very important factor when it comes to PMS due to adrenaline, which your body releases when you are under stress. High levels of adrenaline prevent your body from being able to use progesterone correctly in the second half of your cycle and that can cause PMS symptoms. Look into ways of helping yourself cope with stress, such as relaxation techniques or meditation. You can also consider supplements such as magnesium or Siberian ginseng.