You know those days, when you feel more like Eyeore than as Tigger, when your abdomen feels like a giant balloon that you wish you were flying. Premenstrual syndrome is not a disease, but a natural condition characterized by at least one of the 15 potential symptoms in most menstruating women, according to the "Women's Health" magazine.
For most women who face PMS, the symptoms are tolerable, but annoying. In fact they are so annoying, that a web search for the phrase "SPM and diet" results in more than 5 billion websites, many teaching natural remedies, things you should do and things you do not, and, supposedly, guaranteed ways to completely conquer your symptoms. Although "completely conquering" your symptoms through changes in your diet may not always be possible, some foods and eating habits can help minimize them, which is a good idea.
Our hormones change and there is blood loss. That is the reason why there is an increase in appetite. Some metabolisms can increase up to 15%.
Robyn L. Goldberg, registered dietitian
It's not magic
If particular foods or supplements could cure SMP, they would probably be the best-selling dietary products among more than 85% of women who menstruate and experience at least an annoying symptom every month.
"There are no evidence-based guidelines for PMS," said Katherine Isacks, a registered and consultant registered dietitian and writer for MyNetDiary. com. But improving your eating habits in general and emphasizing particular foods before your period can provide benefits.
For example, many women do not get to consume the recommended 1000 mg of calcium per day. In addition to lowering the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures later in life, increasing calcium intake can lead to fewer premenstrual symptoms. In a study published in 2008 in the "Taiwanese Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology," college students consumed 500 mg of calcium carbonate or a placebo twice a day for three months. Compared with women who took the placebo, those who consumed calcium supplements reported significant improvements in fatigue, appetite changes and depression.
Calcium and magnesium are also "fantastic for sensitive breasts," according to registered dietitian Robyn L. Goldberg. She recommends eating foods rich in calcium and magnesium, and there are many that contain both nutrients. Some valuable sources of calcium and magnesium include green leafy vegetables, spinach, low-fat yogurt, artichokes, sweet potatoes, halibut and cashew.
Omega-3 fatty acids, an essential nutrient that many Americans lack, can help reduce inflammation and pain.In addition, although the results of the studies vary, a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids could contribute to depression. The best sources of nutrients include flax seeds, nuts, cold water fish such as halibut, herring, salmon and sole.
It is best to meet the needs of nutrients through food rather than supplements. Eating healthy foods can provide the same benefits as supplements, but without the potential side effects. Calcium supplements, for example, can sometimes cause swelling, constipation and gas.
Water retention, or swelling, causes abdominal and emotional discomfort to many women during PMS.
"Women who gain a lot of water during the luteal phase (the two-week period that begins right after ovulation until the first day of their periods) can benefit from limiting sodium intake according to the recommended guidelines" said Isacks.
If you are 51 or older, are of African descent or have high blood pressure, kidney disease or diabetes, limit your sodium intake to 1500 mg per day. Otherwise, aim for a maximum of 2300 mg per day.
Because half a teaspoon of salt provides 1200 mg of sodium and natural foods usually provide sufficient amounts, limit processed foods, especially during the two weeks before menstruation, recommends an article on the American Heart website Association. Foods with a particularly high sodium content include chips, pretzels, canned soups and vegetables, frozen meals, tomato sauce, and processed meats and cheeses.
Consuming lots of water and moisturizing foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, and sweating through exercise can help prevent or relieve swelling. There is little evidence supporting the effectiveness of herbal diuretics or water pills, and some herbal pills pose risks.
Herbal teas can provide relief for some women, says Isacks. But talk to your pharmacist or health care provider before taking an herbal tea to avoid interactions if you are taking any medication.
Lies with cravings
"When we crave more food or specific foods, it's because our hormones change and there is a loss of blood, which is why it increases appetite," Goldberg explained. "Some metabolisms may increase up to 15%. "
In other words, a woman who requires approximately 1800 calories a day may need an additional 270 per day before or during her period.
If you resist your cravings, they are likely to intensify, adding to your emotional stress and potentially causing you to overeat and gain weight.
When cravings set in, Goldberg suggests not panic. "A week will not change anything dramatically."
To prevent or reduce the intensity of your cravings, aim for a diet that is generally rich in fiber and nutrients. High-fiber foods, such as whole grains, sesame seeds, beans, lentils and berries, improve blood sugar and control appetite. And the more nutritious your diet is, the less likely you are to experience nutrient deficiencies that could make your symptoms worse.
Improve your mood
If you have a relatively predictable menstrual cycle, you know when your symptoms are likely to appear. Plan ahead of time filling your kitchen with nutritious options and modest sized portions to cater to your cravings.
Registered dietitian Robyn L. Goldberg recommends mangoes, which are one of the best fruits for fiber, and green leafy vegetables, which are full of calcium and magnesium. For a sweet and nutritious salad, combine kale or spinach with sliced mangoes and a splash of extra virgin olive oil.
If your taste buds require chocolate, have simple bars of bitter chocolate in your refrigerator or freezer. Bitter chocolate contains more antioxidants and less sugar and saturated fat than chocolate milk varieties.
For your salty cravings, season a bowl of air-ready popcorn (a whole grain rich in fiber and vitamin B) with natural herbs or a blend of seasonings with low sodium.
Have a yoga mat, comfortable exercise shoes and a bottle of water nearby to release tension and relax and eliminate water retention through sweat. Meanwhile, increase your water intake to prevent dehydration, which can alter your energy levels and moods.
Do not forget to ask for help. No one understands the emotional and physical roller coaster of PMS more than your friends. Rent a movie, laugh and cry together and share a pint of java chip. It is likely that you consume less sugar, fat and calories in that way and you will enjoy it more.