In the days (and sometimes weeks) before getting our period, some of us really struggle with PMS, or premenstrual syndrome. This can make us feel bloated, achy, tired and, well… cry at the drop of a hat.
Symptoms differ from woman to woman and some of us struggle more than others. If you do find yourself feeling a bit rubbish every month before your period, we have some nutrition and lifestyle tips to help ease the pain.
Reduce your salt intake
The hormone changes that take place around this time lead to water retention in the body. This often means a lot of uncomfortable bloating. Salt can make this worse, so try to keep an eye on your salt intake and reduce it where possible.
To counteract the bloating, eat foods with high water content like cucumbers, watermelons and tomatoes. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and treat yourself to lots of herbal tea – the warmth with help ease aching muscles.
Avoid excess sugar
The hormone changes that take place during our period can upset our digestive system (you may notice you have an upset stomach around this time) and excess sugar can make this worse. Look to eat fruits and complex carbs, the fibre and protein will help settle things down.
Eat lots of anti-inflammatory foods
If you struggle with PMS and/or cramps, anti-inflammatory foods may help ease inflammation in the body. Try swapping coffee for green tea, snacking on blueberries and adding cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and kale) to your meals. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are also helpful, so enjoy salmon, tuna, nuts and seeds.
Listen to your body
PMS makes us feel very raw and vulnerable and so is the perfect time to turn inwards. Treat yourself kindly, be gentle with your body and use this time for self-reflection and slowing down.
Listen to what your body wants. Usually this is lots of rest, gentle movement and yes, perhaps some chocolate. The more in tune we are with our bodies, the more we can give it what it truly needs.