PMS-Proof Your Diet with My Moonbox Founder Nikki Gonda's Advice
Period and PMS symptoms reflect our overall health and are directly influenced by our lifestyle and how we eat, sleep, and move. Shifting the way we eat can have profound impacts on how painful, regular, short, or heavy our periods are. Try incorporating these dietary tips and you’ll be shocked at how much of an effect food can have on our hormonal health.
Organic fruit & vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables are packed full of essential nutrients, fibre and antioxidants essential for a healthy reproductive system. Focus on cruciferous vegetables like brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and bok choy as these contain ‘glucosinolates’ which support the body’s natural detoxification system.
There’s strong research showing us that ‘good fats’ such as anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent and treat physical and mental symptoms of PMS (including moodiness, brain fog, breast tenderness and painful cramps). Go for cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel and anchovies – all a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Vegans and vegetarians can opt for algae, nuts and seeds.
Zinc plays an important role in the brain and can have positive impacts on cognition and mood. Zinc is also highly beneficial for those suffering from hormonal acne, which is a common symptom of poly-cystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Add extra zinc into your diet by adding more pumpkin seeds, oysters, red meat, and legumes.
Spices have been used traditionally for their culinary and health-promoting purposes including treating PMS! Some of the best picks include cinnamon to help to improve insulin resistance, reducing PMS cravings and protects the liver, our main detoxification organ, turmeric for its anti-inflammatory effects which help to lower prostaglandins and reduce painful periods, and finally, ginger which has also been found to help with nausea, bloating and reducing heavy menstrual bleeding.
Sugar cravings are one of the most common PMS symptoms and in our luteal phase and we will easily convince ourselves having a tub of ice-cream or block of chocolate for dinner is completely reasonable. However, there is no avoiding that sugar messes with blood sugar levels and causes hormonal imbalances which can worsen symptoms of PMS, acne, mood swings, period pain, fatigue and even contribute to vaginal thrush.
Saturated Trans Fats
Limit foods high in saturated fats such as pastries, processed meats, and fried foods. Saturated fats are highly inflammatory which worsens PMS symptoms and provide little to no nutrients for our body.
Bad news first: For premenstrual and menstruating gals, coffee has the potential to worsen cramps, headaches, trigger anxiety, irritability, mood swings, interfere with sleep and overstimulate the digestive tract, worsening bloating and making period poops even more problematic. Nooooo thanks! But the good news is that you don’t need to quit coffee forever. Woohoo! You just need to sync your coffee intake to your cycle.
Alcohol makes PMS worse. Period. Alcohol depletes your body of nutrients essential for hormonal health (such as B vitamins), triggers inflammatory processes and burdens the liver. A healthy liver is essential for balancing healthy hormones and happy periods. Just a few weeks off alcohol can improve cognition, moods, sleep, body composition, skin, and assists weight management.