Miss Sparks Fit Guides

Foods to Help Manage PMS Symptoms

What PMS symptoms? I say this while gnawing my way through a box of Girl Scout cookies. It used to offend me to hear people suggest that women have PMS symptoms of any kind; after all women are strong, capable, able to bear children, run companies and pick out the best shade of lip gloss all before breakfast. Like a few cramps and cravings are going to slow us down.

If you’re like me, you do notice a strange symptom or two before your menstrual cycle begins, signaling the dreaded PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome). I’ve decided it’s nothing to be embarrassed about or offended by. It’s called biology and it is what it is. Just because I’ve acknowledged having some PMS symptoms doesn’t mean I can’t fight against them. I have done a little research on the subject, and with some trial and error, I have found a few foods that fight PMS. And no, it’s not typically Girl Scout cookies that do the trick, you just happened to have caught me at a moment where the adorable neighborhood girl scout traded me a few boxes of Thin Mints and Samoas for $21. So, PMS or not – I’m getting a fix.

Milk. The slogan goes “It does a body good,” and it really does. According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, getting enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet can help you avoid PMS symptoms altogether. Whoot! Keep your calcium and vitamin D intake up in general, and when your time of the month is approaching, work in an extra glass of milk every day or have some yogurt or cheese. Fortified orange juice is also a good calcium and vitamin source, and having a glass every morning will help you get towards your recommended four servings per day.

Fish and fats. Healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids and the fat found in olive oil can do great things for your heart as well as your PMS symptoms. Both Reproductive Health and Nutrition Research have published studies demonstrating that getting enough good fats in your diet will lessen the severity of your symptoms. This means you will feel less bloated, crampy and tired when you have PMS. Find these fats in nuts, fish such as salmon and mackerel, and avocados.

Beans. High in magnesium, beans will help you feel less bloated because they will assist you in managing water retention. Beans also contain high levels of serotonin, which is a chemical that makes you feel happier and generally better overall. Women who took serotonin while experiencing PMS reported feeling less bothered by their symptoms. Try some black beans, make a homemade hummus with garbanzo beans and add a handful of your favorite beans to your salads, soups and pastas.

Brown rice. All the best nutrients are represented in brown rice; magnesium, manganese and vitamin B6. Combined with the whole grain elements in brown rice, you will find yourself feeling less irritable, moody and depressed. If brown rice isn’t your thing, try oatmeal or whole grain pasta, which seem to have the same positive effects on PMS symptoms.