It’s that time of the month again, ladies! According to
womenshealth.gov, over 90% of women suffer from Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). Symptoms of PMS can be physical and emotional. Some examples include: bloating, swollen/tender breasts, cramping, sleep problems, appetite changes, anxiety, mood swings, and many more.
During this time, it’s important to look at the foods we are eating to make sure we are getting enough nutrition, because it affects our reproductive systems. It’s also important to eat a wide range of seasonal, organic food if you tend to have digestive issues.
It’s impossible to always make the right choice, especially when we are PMS-ing, but here are a few foods that PMS and cramp sufferers might want to especially avoid:
- Caffeine – This one is the hardest for me. The first thing I do to start my day is drink an oatmilk latte. Caffeine causes your blood vessels to constrict, including the ones that supply blood to the uterus, which can make cramps even more killer. Caffeine may also increase irritability, which is usually the last thing you need this time of the month.
- Alcohol – Okay, this one’s hard for me, too. I love to crack open a can of craft beer after a long day of classes or work, but alcohol makes your PMS worse. Alcohol prevents hormone regulation, so it can intensify both PMS and cramping. It also slows the emptying of the stomach, potentially increasing bloating. Worse, alcohol is dehydrating, so it can cause you to retain even more water, and you could end up with a hangover and PMS. YIKES!
- Sugar & Refined Carbohydrates – Alright, all of these are pretty challenging but sugar and refined carbohydrates are one of the biggest red flags that will make your PMS and cramping worse. They contribute to fatigue and bloating, and can impact estrogen, testosterone, and serotonin levels. Because they also impact blood sugar regulation, carbs can worsen the highs and lows of your PMS mood swings. However, dark chocolate is an exception for those of you with a sweet-tooth (like myself). It contains magnesium, which is a great mineral for helping to decrease cramps.
- Red Meat & Dairy – It’s common for women to crave iron-rich foods when they experience PMS, but red meat & dairy contain acids that stimulate prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances involved in pain and inflammation trigger the uterine muscle contractions. All hope is not lost! You can get your fix of iron from veggie-based sources like chickpeas, beans, and lentils.
You got this, girl!
By Sohee Cho