If you suffer from mood swings, sugar cravings and headaches, then you are more than likely suffering from PMS. If you are a man suffering from these, then you are probably married to a women with PMS and I would advise you to read this article for your own sanity.
It is very common for women in the run up to their period to crave sugary things and carbs, and even salty foods, which is very annoying when you may have done well for weeks avoiding sugary treats.
But you know deep down that these foods will only end up making you feel miserable and more bloated in the long-term.
But what causes this insatiable desire for the chocolate bar before your period?
It’s a combination of things, such as fluctuating hormones, as your oestrogen levels go up so does your cortisol level your stress hormones. This stimulates your appetite.
You also experience a drop in your happy brain chemical Serotonin which can trigger cravings.
And the psychological effect when you look in the mirror and see that your tummy is bloated, and think to hell with it, and reach for the bounty bar, can also have an effect on your eating.
See healthier bounty bar recipe here: http://www.truemoodfood.com/homemade-chocolate-bounty-bars/
So how can you prevent these cravings?
What magic elixir is there I can take, you might ask? Well I wish I had one, because I would definitely bottle it and sell it.
However, there could be an answer in the form of vitamin D and calcium.
Elizabeth R. Bertone-Johnson, ScD, and her Harvard University colleagues from the University of Massachusetts did a study of around 1,000 nurses, aged between 27 and 44 years old. The study showed that those women that had a higher intake of vitamin D and Calcium had significantly reduced PMS symptoms.
So how much is a higher amount?
Four servings a day of low-fat dairy or yoghurt or fortified orange juice showed a 40% decrease in PMS symptoms.
Although, this study was not a clinical trial which would be the only way to prove for definite that calcium and vitamin D helped prevent PMS, it was still
an interesting study to show that there might well be a connection between consuming a higher amount of calcium and vitamin D for prevention of PMS.
What Other Things Can Help My PMS?
Other things to help with PMS symptoms would be to keep your blood sugar levels stable. This means not grabbing the piece of toast before work, as you rush out of the door with half a shoe on. It means getting up a little bit earlier, and eating a proper breakfast such as porridge, or eggs, and then eating smaller regular meals throughout the day that contain both carbs and proteins, and slower releasing lower glycemic carbs which keep your blood sugar stable, e.g, sweet potato instead of jacket potato, quinoa and whole grain foods instead of white rice.
Also, foods with essential fatty acids such as oily fish can help slow the absorption of carbohydrates and help prevent cravings.
Other things include drinking plenty of water, cutting back on alcohol and avoiding processed sugar all help with your symptoms of PMS.
In terms of supplements for PMS, vitamin D is a good supplement to take especially through the winter, not just for PMS. But calcium is better obtained through food sources. One supplement I have always found to be helpful with PMS symptoms is Borage Oil, also known as Starflower Oil.
Borage oil has been around for a long time and has strong anti-inflammatory properties due to the high amount of Gamma- linolenic acid it contains. It is helpful for some of the symptoms associated with PMS such as breast tenderness and also for skin breakouts.
If you are on medication, check with your doctor that it does not interfere with medication you are taking.
Top Calcium rich foods include
It is recommended that women between the ages of 31-50 consume 1,000mg of calcium per day.
Tofu = 434 milligrams in half a cup
Sardines = 351 milligrams in one 3.75 oz can
1 cup of milk = 300milligrams of calcium
Canned Salmon = 232 millgrams in half a can
1.5 oz cheddar cheese= 300 milligrams of calcium
8 oz low fat yoghurt = 300-415millgrams of calcium
1 cup of calcium fortified orange juice = 300 milligrams calcium
Collard Greens = 268 millgrams in 1 cup cooked
Figs = 121 milligrams per ½ cup dried
½ cup Spinach 120 milligrams of calcium
White beans = 63 milligrams in1/2 cup
½ cup of broccoli = 25 milligrams of calcium
Top Vitamin D rich Foods Include
It is recommended that we consume 600IU of vitamin D per day.
See the link below for more information on the importance of vitamin D:
Sun is of course the best source, but not during the winter months, but if your not a fish lover or eat enough of the foods fortified with vitamin D, then its probably worth supplementing with vitamin D in the winter.
I should also mention that you need to eat vitamin D for proper absorption of calcium.
Salmon 3 oz= 447 IU
Mackeral 3 oz = 400 IU
Tuna 3 oz = 154 IU
Fortified Orange Juice = 137 IU
Fortified Milk 1 cup 115-124 IU
Caviar 1oz = 33 IU (not a staple of most people’s diet but just thought I would mention it)
1 Egg large = 41 IU
Mushrooms = 1 cup 2 IU (plenty of mushroom soup to make up the daily requirement)
There is also vitamin D in fortified cereals and margarines, but these levels vary depending on the type.
So instead of lying on the sofa in your PJ’s feeling sorry for yourself eating an oversized chocolate bar, putting on more weight and feeling more tired. Eat well throughout the day with some protein packed meals and plenty of water. Get enough sleep to prevent your cortisol levels rising and make sure you are eating a higher amount of vitamin D and calcium rich foods.
This will give you more energy, you will look radiant and glowing, you might even start talking to the animals and start calling yourself Snow White, although you might smell a bit fishy, well that’s the theory anyway :).