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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Nutrition Solutions for PMS

Premenstural Syndrome (PMS) is a syndrome that is difficult to link specific foods directly to reducing symptoms. That being said, we do know that certain brain chemicals and hormones cause the body to act differently at different times of the cycle. The last two weeks of the cycle are marked by elevated progesterone which causes serotonin and other endorphins to decrease which in turn can affect mood and appetite. Also, during these final two weeks of the cycle, the body is more sensitive to insulin which may cause higher levels of glucose (blood sugar).


Exercise: Exercise can help to increase endorphins and improve mood.

Eat 4-6 smalls meals or snacks throughout the day. This will help control blood glucose and energy. Limiting portions will help prevent bloating and feeling lethargic.

Limit sodium: Sodium causes water retention which can cause bloating.

Omega-3's: Fish or flax omega-3's may help with inflammation, depression, and even cramping.

Iron: Many women become anemic due to heavy bleeding. Eating iron rich foods like beef will help to build up iron stores in the body.

Whole grains: Choosing whole grain breads, cereals, rice, and pasta over the refined processed varieties will help the body control insulin a bit better.

Chromium: Helps to control blood glucose and insulin sensitivity. Food sources include onions, romaine lettuce, and oysters. Brewer's yeast is also high but can cause bloating, so I would not recommend it for PMS.

Magnesium: Almonds and bran cereal. Magnesium may also help with cramping because of it’s role in blood circulation.

Vitamin E: Almonds, wheat germ, sunflower seeds. Vitamin E is an excellent antioxidant that helps protect the cells from free radical damage

Calcium: Milk, cheese, yogurt, fortified products. Calcium is important for bone formation, but also for nerve condition and blood pressure control.

Vitamin B6: Important in the formation of red blood cells and helps the immune system and nervous system. Food sources include fortified cereals, potatoes, bananas, and garbanzo beans

Fiber: Fiber can help prevent constipation which often happens to women. Eat high fiber foods like legumes (black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, etc), bran cereals, and fruits and vegetables.

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About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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