PMT (also known as premenstrual syndrome) is something most women experience.
When the ‘time of the month’ swings around, symptoms such as bloating, abdominal cramps, irritability and headaches can play havoc with a woman’s emotional and physical well-being.
While there are over-the-counter medicines offering relief from these troubling symptoms, one of the most effective ways to address PMT is through diet.
Below we explore five foods that can help prevent PMT:
Vegetables, fruit and high fibre foods
Changes in hormone levels are thought to be a primary cause of PMT. Therefore a fibre-rich diet can be highly beneficial for those with severe symptoms. This is because fibre reduces the stress on your liver – the organ that metabolises hormones, including oestrogen. Furthermore, once digested, fibre absorbs excess oestrogen and transports it out of the body. The added benefit is that fibre balances blood sugar. This can help to control mood swings and fatigue.
Essential fatty acids
Eating foods rich in essential fatty acids (such as walnuts, flaxseeds, salmon and beef) can make a big difference to PMT symptoms. This is because essential fatty acids help produce prostaglandins – a group of lipid compounds that regulate hormones and reduce inflammation.
Foods rich in vitamin B6
Bananas, whole grains, eggs, beans and nuts are among the foods that contain vitamin B6. This vitamin is effective not only for pain relief, but can also help the liver to remove excess oestrogen. Research also shows a link between vitamin B6 and reduced depression and irritability.
Research suggests women who eat a diet rich in calcium have a lower risk of developing PMT by as much as 40%. Just an eight-ounce cup of natural yoghurt contains 25% of your daily recommended intake of calcium, which makes it a great snack option for tackling PMT symptoms.
Although it’s not technically a food, including chamomile tea in your diet could make a huge difference to your PMT symptoms. This is because it contains antispasmodic properties that can help to ease the severity of menstrual cramps and muscle spasms. Chamomile tea is also highly relaxing and can help to soothe stress and anxiety.