Tuesday, August 14, 2012

PMS Diet: 10 Do's & Dont's

1. Do get more calcium

Some studies have shown that calcium levels are lower in women with PMS, and that those with the highest intake of calcium reported the mildest PMS symptoms. Source your calcium from foods such as low-fat milk and dairy, calcium-fortified breakfast cereals and orange juice, and leafy greens.

2. Don't consume excessive salt

Salt increases water retention, so if you suffer from premenstrual bloating, do limit the amount of sodium you consume in the run up to your period. Eliminate the salt shaker, and cut back on the canned foods, processed foods and condiments, all of which are overflowing with sodium.

3. Do drink more water

Sounds counter-intuitive, but water can actually alleviate PMS-related fluid retention. Drink plenty of H2O -- aim for 8 to 10 glasses a day; more when you exercise -- to flush toxins out of your system and reduce premenstrual bloating.

4. Do eat the good carbs

Research indicates that carbohydrates can help reduce many PMS symptoms, especially mood swings. Opt for complex carbs such as whole grain breads, pastas, brown rice and beans over refined carbs.

5. Do satisfy your cravings with portion control

Do you find yourself craving the sweet stuff just before your period? You're not alone! Satisfy your urge with calorie-controlled single-serving packs of your favorite treat, whether it's ice-cream, cookies, chocolate or candy bars -- it's the most effective way to manage food cravings without over-indulging.

6. Don't guzzle caffeine

Some studies suggest that the effects of caffeine are magnified premenstrually, and drinking three or more cups of caffeinated beverage a day may exacerbate anxiety, irritability, nervousness and insomnia. If these side effects sound familiar, limit your coffee and tea one week prior to menstruation.

7. Don't pop the soda

Laden with sugar and caffeine, fizzy soda is the double whammy women with PMS should avoid. The bubbles in carbonated drinks also make matters worse by contributing to the bloating problem.

8. Do enjoy a chocolate or two

It's thought that mood swings during PMS are caused by the temporary drop in the body's natural "feel-good" hormones serotonin and dopamine. But here's the good news: Studies show that eating chocolate can have a mood-lifting effect, thanks to the natural endorphins it contains. Dark chocolate offers the most health benefits -- look for at least 70 percent cocoa -- and enjoy in moderation.

9. Don't drink alcohol

Alcohol is a depressant, and has also been shown to aggravate PMS symptoms including breast tenderness and mood swings. Try to avoid (or at least cut back) on alcoholic drinks premenstrually.

10. Do consider supplements

Some vitamins and minerals that appear to be helpful for PMS are: Vitamin B6, zinc and magnesium, which are involved in the production of serotonin and dopamine. Evening primrose oil is also widely used to alleviate premenstrual breast tenderness. Remember to consult your doctor first before starting on any supplements.