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News - Nutrient focus for Pre Menstrual Syndrome

By Debbie Paddington Dip ION

Premenstrual tension, commonly called PMS is a group of symptoms linked to the menstrual cycle. Symptoms typically appear two weeks before a period and disappear as soon as the period arrives and can include breast tenderness, food cravings, anxiety, fluid retention and low mood.

Possible Causes 

Hormone Imbalance – Fluctuations in hormone levels, particularly oestrogen and progesterone, may contribute to PMS symptoms. 

Low Serotonin levels - Serotonin, our feel good neurotransmitter, may play a crucial role in our mood. Low levels of serotonin may contribute to PMS as well as to fatigue, food cravings and sleep problems. 

Stress - Stress can aggravate some PMS symptoms. 

Poor eating habits - Some PMS symptoms have been linked to low levels of vitamins and minerals and poor diet. 

Imbalanced blood sugar levels – it would seem that diets high in stimulants and refined foods, might lead to a worsening of symptoms.

Dietary Advice 

Eat smaller, more frequent meals to reduce bloating and the sensation of fullness. 

Increase phytoestrogens  -e.g. soya, lentils, chickpeas and kidney beans 

Increase foods rich in B6 such as bananas, chickpeas, pinto beans, sunflower seeds, lentils, spinach, peppers, brown rice and peanuts. 

Increase foods rich in zinc – shellfish, fish, meat, nuts and legumes. 

Increase foods rich in magnesium, which is found in green vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. 

Increase foods rich in calcium– e.g. green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans and chickpeas.

Increase fibre using wholegrains, fruit and vegetables. 

Limit salt and salty foods to reduce bloating and fluid retention.

Reduce sugary foods – e.g. cakes, biscuits and pastries. 

Reduce alcohol 

Reduce caffeine 

Useful Nutrients

B6 – helps to support healthy hormonal and blood sugar balance

Zinc – helps to support healthy hormone balance 

Magnesium – helps to support healthy hormone balance and has calming properties. 

Chromium – important to help support blood sugar balance 

Starflower Oil – may help to reduce fluid retention. 

Vitamin E - may ease PMS symptoms by reducing the production of prostaglandins, hormone-like substances that cause cramps and breast tenderness. 

Calcium- studies have shown that taking calcium may help reduce the physical and mood symptoms that are part of PMS.

 Agnus Castus  - may help to balance hormone levels. 

American Ginseng – helps to support the body in times of stress. 

Phytoestrogens such as soya, and Mexican wild yam may help to support healthy hormone levels. 

Lifestyle

Get plenty of sleep – try to get 8 hours a night.

Exercise 2 to 3 times a week.

Meditation, massage and yoga may be helpful to reduce stress.


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