Natural Ways to Conquer PMS

PMS — the three letters dreaded by women and feared by men. But it doesn’t have to be so. Instead of having negative feelings towards it and treating it as a taboo topic, you can further understand and even embrace it. And this also goes to the gents out there, because we need your help and support more than ever during those days.

Let’s first start with understanding what PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, is not. It’s not a weakness or disease, and it most definitely isn’t something in our heads. PMS leads to symptoms that women experience related to their menstrual cycle. It’s important to know that no one woman experiences PMS the same way. These symptoms can manifest in an emotional way, such as being more irritable, anxious, or being prone to mood swings. It can also manifest on a physical level with cravings, weight gain, and breast tenderness. Many can even experience PMS differently every single month.

PMS may seem like something that is completely out of our hands; I mean, who would willingly choose to go through this every month? But there are actual lifestyle tweaks that can provide some support and relief. Being a nutrition nut, for this article, I wanted to focus on the foods we eat.

Although inflammation is a normal part of our immune system, too much of it is not good for our overall health. It affects our joints, cardiovascular health, and can even worsen PMS symptoms. One way to control inflammation is through food. Foods that can trigger a higher degree of inflammation include refined sugars, dairy, gluten, caffeine, and many additives that come in processed foods. Am I proposing that we never consume these foods? Not necessarily. But you will notice that reducing the consumption of these will help you sail through those days smoother.

It’s not only about what you avoid, but what you incorporate into your meals, that can make all the difference. Choosing foods that are rich in fiber and protein like beans and legumes nourish the body with wonderful nutrients and help with pesky cravings. Also, incorporating seeds rich in omega-3s and phytoestrogens such as flaxseeds, is a great way to balance and give extra love to your hormones. And when you thought that foods couldn’t help with cramps, think again! Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale are wonderful sources of magnesium and calcium, both great nutrients that provide cramp relief.

Nutrition is a fundamental aspect of balancing and supporting hormone health, but one can take it to the next level when also incorporating other lifestyle tweaks. Some of these include making sure you get enough rest and quality sleep, working out, and taking care of stress. Also, to help cope with an intensified feeling of stress or anxiety, experimenting with essential oils may just do the trick. Oils like lavender, ylang ylang, rose, bergamot, and clary sage can all provide a sense of calm and tranquility that we often need.

And to end this article, I wanted to say kudos to all women (and all the supportive lads). Although some days everything may seem completely upside down, we all manage to pull it together every single month. So love and embrace this part of you, and make sure to give yourself a little extra care during this time.