I don’t think anyone that has lived beyond their adolescent years is unfamiliar with the term Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Most every woman has experienced it at one time or another. One woman I was encouraged about her diet called “the monthly scourge of her emotions.” Whew… Now that is pretty dramatic. But, she is not alone.
I am approached often by women who know that I am a health advocate. They most always ask me about things they can do to reduce the likelihood of PMS symptoms while talking to me about how to improve their overall health. Equally, I am ask by men if there is something that can be done through nutrition to help their wives out. The good news that I am able to give all of them is that it is possible to completely defeat PMS once and for all through modifying one’s diet.
How to Stop PMS
Typically, most women who suffer from PMS have pretty terrible diets – even worse than the average junk food diet of most people. If you are suffering with PMS and are ready to stop experiencing the ‘out of control’ emotional roller coaster ride each month just before your menstrual cycle, here are eight absolute MUST DO changes in diet and lifestyle that must take place in your life:
- Eliminate caffeine from your diet – Caffeine acidifies your body chemistry, which has an adverse affect on your hormones, thus extenuating the symptoms of PMS.
- Reduce your intake of fats, especially those from dairy products. Choose ‘good fats’ over ‘bad fats’, i.e. plant-based vs. animal-based. A few good sources are avocado, walnuts, and coconut oil.
- Eliminate sugar from your diet – This is a huge issue for most women that I talk to who are looking for ‘natural ways’ to rid themselves of PMS in their lives. Breaking the habit of eating sweets – even in small doses – is a difficult one IF you do not have something to replace it with. When you have that ‘urge’ to eat sweets, choose an apple, a hand full of grapes, or even a banana, but do NOT eat foods that have refined or even ‘raw’ sugars in them IF you want to see your PMS defeated.
- Significantly reduce your salt intake – Sodium is important to your diet, but not in the granular form. There are plenty of other ways to get sodium other than through salt. Try eating celery dipped in almond butter. Celery is a natural source of sodium.
- Increase your intake of fermented soy-based foods – One of the best sources is that of Tempe, a fermented soybean product. I eat this as a good source of protein. There are a lot of good recipes online if you are not a creative chef.
- Work to eliminate your exposure to environmental estrogens – This is most often found in meats and dairy, and through exposure and/or consumption of foods with pesticides like DDT, PCP, PCB, Chlordane, and DDE. One benefit to reducing and/or eliminating this is that you DRAMATICALLY reduce your chances of breast cancer.
- Dramatically increase your intake of fresh vegetables and fruits, especially dark green vegetables and those HIGH in antioxidants. Start with adding one helping of raw organic fruit and one helping of raw fresh organic vegetable to one meal, then increase it to another meal each day, until you are having these with every meal every day.
- Increase your weekly exercise schedule – Start walking three times a week and increase it to each day for 20 minutes after you get off of work or after dinner. You will be amazed at how great you will begin to feel once you build this habit into your daily routine. Gradually increase your exercise regiment from walking each day, to alternating between walking and doing a twenty minute workout three days a week – doing only one major muscle group each workout. By this I mean, do legs one day, then back one day, then arms one day, shoulders one day, the core one day, and then back to legs. You will be amazed at how you will start feeling and looking. This is a great step to undertake with someone you enjoy being with so that you can have an accountability partner in modifying your exercise regiment.
“FINE! Great information,” you say. “Like who in the world can do all of this?”
“How in the world do you expect me to make such drastic changes in my diet?”
ANSWER: Simply put, I believe if you are reading this, that you are motivated enough to try anything if it will help you. AND, as far as how to do it, I expect you to do it slowly and over time.
The Secret to Succeeding
If I told you that in six months you would never have to deal with PMS again for the rest of your life, would you be willing to add one of these steps to your daily routine each week? While habits are impossible to erase from your subconscious mind, you can lay new, more pleasing, more beneficial habits over old habits so that you are driven towards the new and more healthy habits. Are you ready for change yet?
If dealing with PMS on a monthly basis, determine in your mind that it is worth the effort to change your diet and lifestyle if your PMS is putting stress on your emotions or relationships. It could be affecting your relationships with your friends, co-workers, family, or husband (or boy friend). If you feel that eight weeks (or eight months) of gradual change is worth it, start today. There is no set order to undertaking each of these eight steps. I suggest that you start with the easiest and work from there.
Begin to read up on each of these points, and the health issues that are related to each of these eight point, i.e. Google ‘adverse affects of caffeine’ and read up on it, then the next week Google “healthy fats versus unhealthy fats”, etc. The more knowledge you have about these things, the more deliberate you will be in your choices to change, and the deeper your conviction will be to change.
As always, please leave your comments or feedback, and if you feel brave enough share this article on your favorite social network, you can be a part of helping others who may need this information. Thanks!