Diet and PMS
Health24's diet doc takes us through a few steps on how our diet can make PMS easier.
Understanding the relationship between Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and food
About 80% of women experience some features of PMS. Fortunately, only a minority (estimated at 10%) of women have severe enough PMS symptoms to impact their work, relationships or lifestyle in a significant way.
Proper diet, exercise and lifestyle changes can help symptoms before resorting to over-the-counter or prescription medications. Most women can control their PMS symptoms successfully so that they do not interfere with their leading healthy and productive lives.
Step 2: Adopting new healthy habits
- Make dietary changes (see Step 3).
- Exercise regularly. Exercise can help relieve some of the symptoms of PMS. Aerobic exercise for 30 minutes should be done three to five times a week. Swimming, walking, and dancing are "low-impact" aerobic activities. They avoid the muscle and joint pounding of more "high-impact" exercises like jogging and skipping. Benefits include cardiovascular fitness, muscle tone, weight control or reduction, decrease in fluid retention and increase in self-esteem.
- Avoid smoking.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine and refined sugars.
- Increase intake of complex carbohydrates, magnesium and zinc, vitamins A, E and B6.
- Do daily relaxation and breathing exercises to reduce stress.
If there is no relief of symptoms and PMS significantly interferes with functioning, medication may be necessary.
Step 3: Understanding the basic principles of a diet to reduce symptoms of PMS
Does your daughter suffer from PMS? Have you tried changing her diet? Talk in the box below.
- Never skip meals. To maintain your blood sugar levels, it is better to eat small amounts more often.
- When you are premenstrual, your calorie requirements increase by 500 calories a day.
- Eat two snacks per day in addition to your usual three meals.
- Eat protein at both lunch and supper.
- Reduce fat and sugar consumption.
- Drink eight glasses of water a day.
- Make sure you eat at least three portions of fruit and vegetables (preferably green leafy ones) every day.
- Avoid eating large amounts of refined sugar (sweets, cakes and biscuits).
- Rather stick to dried or fresh fruit.
- Keep salt consumption to a minimum as salt makes your body water-retentive.
- Make sure you eat a diet rich in magnesium, iron, zinc and chromium, essential fatty acids and vitamins B, C and E. Eat fish at least twice during this time.
- Increase your intake of complex carbohydrates (for example, pasta and rice).
- Avoid caffeine, which is found in coffee, tea, cola drinks and chocolate.