Premenstrual syndrome can be quite distressing for most women. The mood swings can be too difficult to handle, and fatigue, bloating and cramps make it only worse. 75% of women go through PMS. 20% of these women experience severe symptoms which need medical attention. Change in hormonal balance is what causes PMS. Improving your nutrition with the help of a healthy diet, and improving your lifestyle can help in easing PMS symptoms for you. In a recent IGTV, nutritionist Pooja Makhija talks about how one can use nutrition to reduce symptoms associated with PMS.
PMS nutrition: Know the do’s and don’ts
According to Makhija, exercising regularly is extremely important to ensure hormonal balance in the body. Thus, keeping yourself on the move is important if you want to experience fewer PMS symptoms.
1. Muscle cramps: Magnesium can be helpful for muscle cramps. The mineral helps in relaxation of muscles, thereby reducing the pain caused by muscular contraction, informs Makhija. Whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds are all rich sources of magnesium. You can get sufficient amount of this mineral if you are consuming a balanced diet.
2. Excessive bleeding: For women who experience excessive bleeding, it is important to up your iron and folic acid intake. Leafy green veggies like spinach, lentils, legumes, beetroot and whole grains can provide you both iron and folic acid.
3. Water retention: Vitamin B6 can be helpful in this case. Chest soreness, cramps, breast tenderness and water retention are all PMS symptoms which occur because of low Vitamin B6 levels. Whole grains, milk and milk products, fish, and oats can help. You can also take supplements as prescribed by your doctor. You can have the supplements around 10 days before your periods to prevent symptoms.
4. Tiredness and fatigue: Deficiency of Vitamin B12 can be behind tiredness and fatigue before your periods. This nutrient is primarily found in animal foods and this could be the reason why these symptoms are more severe in vegetarians. Makhija says that you can take 1000 to 1500 mg of Vitamin B12 supplements but do check with your health expert first about the dosage and duration.
5. Sugar cravings: Everytime your body is physiologically low in protein, you will experience more sugar cravings, the nutritionist explains. Upping your protein intake can help in curbing the psychological need for sugary foods before PMS. Foods that are good sources of protein include eggs, milk and dairy products, lentils, legumes, soy and chicken.
Make sure you drink sufficient water. “Cramps live better in dehydrated bodies. Dehydration can also lead to constipation, gas and bloating, all of which can together worsen PMS for you,” says Makhija in the video.
Drink at least two and a half to three litres of water to keep your muscles hydrated, to prevent cramps and reduce their severity and to prevent constipation, gas or bloating.
(Pooja Makhija is a nutritionist, dietitian and author)
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