Premenstrual syndrome — more commonly known as PMS — affects an estimated 75% of menstruating women each month. While the intensity of symptoms can vary, the most common symptoms include food cravings, bloating, headaches, breast tenderness, irritability, and fatigue.
Although PMS is common, there are many lifestyle changes you can take to help reduce the intensity of your symptoms. Here at Premier Chiropractic, Barry Hughes, DC and our team offer nutritional coaching to help with a variety of conditions, including PMS.
Dr. Hughes created this guide to shed light on how nutritional counseling helps with PMS and how you can get started at our Pearland, Texas office.
Nutritional Counseling and PMS
Did you know how nutrition impacts your menstrual cycle? Nutritional counseling can teach you how nutrition and PMS are connected, and, more importantly, how to leverage that knowledge to reduce unwanted symptoms.
Nutritional counseling is customized coaching sessions that focus on how certain foods affect your body. Depending on your goals (e.g., weight loss, sports performance, managing PMS), you’ll learn to select specific foods that your body needs.
While dietary selections can’t completely erase all discomfort during your menstrual cycle, what you eat can make your cycles more stable.
During your counseling sessions, we’ll cover all of the nutrients that menstruating women need for healthy cycles:
Women who consume iron-rich foods are 30-40% less likely to experience PMS symptoms. In particular, iron may play a role in reducing the severity of your mood-related symptoms. Iron supports a balanced mood because it is involved in the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin, which is known as the “happy chemical”. Additionally, low iron levels may contribute to low energy levels, so consuming enough iron can also help support your energy levels.
Iron-rich foods include oysters, beef, dark green leafy vegetables, and pumpkin seeds. You can also find iron in fortified breakfast cereals.
There isn’t just one B vitamin. Rather, the B-vitamins group includes:
- B6 and B12
Together, the B-vitamins are involved in the development of certain neurotransmitters, i.e., the ones that affect your mood. Research suggests that consuming enough B-vitamins may alleviate the irritability, anxiety, and depression related to PMS. B6 is also known for boosting energy levels.
Sources of B vitamins include whole grains, legumes, eggs, dairy products, and dark leafy greens.
- Calcium and Vitamin D
According to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology Science, women who took calcium supplements reported a decrease in bloating, fatigue, sadness, and mood swings. Vitamin D is an important nutrient because it helps your body absorb calcium from your food; and because your body doesn’t make its own vitamin D, you need to consume food that contains vitamin D.
Calcium-rich foods include sardines and canned salmon, seeds, almonds, whey protein, and dark leafy greens (kale, collard greens, etc.). Some orange juice is fortified with calcium as well.
Vitamin-D sources include fortified milk and orange juice, fatty fish (including salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring), and eggs.
Studies have linked low magnesium levels with increased PMS symptoms. Combining magnesium with vitamin B6 has been reported to reduce breast tenderness, sadness, bloating, and insomnia.
Magnesium-rich foods include avocados, spinach, nuts, tofu, and whole grains. Dark chocolate also contains magnesium, iron, copper, and manganese.
Where Do You Start?
This article has just touched the surface on the benefits of a well-rounded diet. If PMS is holding you back each month, it’s time to explore the power of food. To schedule your first nutritional counseling session, call our Pearland, Texas, office at 281-223-1172. You can also request an appointment 24/7 with our online scheduling tool.