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Fight PMS with Food

Premenstrual syndrome is an extreme form of stress that produces physical and psychological wear and tear on a woman's body throughout the month, but especially prior to and during menstruation.

Stop the self-perpetuating downward spiral of poor eating habits, poor nutrition and excessive stress, and improve your health throughout the month. Include other strategies such as meditation, relaxation techniques and lifestyle changes -- all keys to reducing PMS.

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Always visit a physician before making any significant dietary change. A discussion with a physician can assure you that PMS is a legitimate problem and not just a figment of the imagination or a joke. Discuss dietary supplements. Magnesium, zinc and Vitamin B-6 seem to be helpful, but ask for specific advice about help with controlling premenstrual syndrome.
Follow this battle plan daily:

  • Seek out foods that are calming, soothing, and mood-enhancing. Read labels and look for foods that will help you meet your goal.
  • Avoid stimulants. Soft drinks and many sports and energy drinks are loaded with caffeine. Drink decaffeinated tea and coffee in moderation. {relatedarticles}
  • Eat lots of foods containing the calming hormone serotonin -- bananas, pineapples, figs, walnuts, tomatoes, avocado, dates, passion fruit and eggplant -- are all good choices.
  • The basic staple of your diet should be complex carbohydrates, like whole-wheat bread, whole-grain pasta, rice, beans and potatoes. Moderate amounts of fish, low-fat cheese, eggs and poultry should supply protein. Eat very little red meat.
  • Breakfast is essential and should comprise carbohydrates like natural, whole-grain cereals. Hot cereal cooked with honey and dried fruit is excellent. Muesli is delicious soaked overnight in fruit juice. Complete your breakfast with whole-grain toast.
  • Become a grazer. Eat often to keep your blood sugar on an even keel. Eat a green salad every day. Nuts, garbanzo beans, pumpkin and sunflower seeds with minimal salt are excellent snacks. Keep dairy products to a minimum. {relatedarticles}
  • Avoid alcohol and sugar -- a glass of wine or piece of chocolate cake (or both!) may seem like what you need, but they can make your symptoms worse.
  • Herbal teas with basil, rosemary, lemon balm, nutmeg, marjoram and lemon verbena are soothing and keep you hydrated. A large sprig of basil or mint and a few drops of fresh lemon juice elevate a glass of water to a delicious and interesting drink. Non-caffeinated fluids will beat back the bloat.
  • Occasionally, indulge yourself in a bit of dark chocolate -- the darker, the better. Chocolate contains a substance known as theobromine that stimulates the release of endorphins, the feel-good hormone. Just don't overdo it, as much as you might crave chocolate.

Fighting PMS with food -- and a little TLC -- is possible and easier than you think. You will gain encouragement and comfort from your own efforts as you develop a new way of eating and thinking about food.{relatedarticles}