The exact cause of PMS remains unclear. A holistic approach might help better address it. Whereas there are many possible reasons, some may include hormonal changes, neurotransmitter changes, diet, stress and lifestyle. In average, 15% of women get moderate to severe menstrual pain that usually gets better once the bleeding starts. It is important to not accept the situation the way it is if it stops you from living a normal life. If you suffer, your body wants to tell you something, so it might be worth listening to it.
While you are trying to figure out what it’s happening inside you, nutrition might help you ease the pain before and during your period. It might also help you prevent future pain and help you get your hormones balanced. It might be interesting to pay more attention to what’s on your plate and to ways of diversifying your meals so you can get all the nutrients you need.
In the present article I will present you some important foods that should be avoided if you have PMS as they produce inflammation in the body. Inflammation worsens PMS.
For best practice:
- add one good behaviour in, before taking anything out
- step-by-step, do not rush. It is important to take your time and consolidate the new behaviour before adding another one in. The quicker you want to go, the higher the chances you will give up faster
- after you added at least one, two new good behaviours, take one old behaviour out. After a few weeks when you start to feel comfortable with your new habits, try eliminating another old habit, etc. Never try to rush your organism. Give it enough time to understand what’s going on and to be with you on the same side, rather than against you.
Foods to be avoided/consumed in moderation:
Many women noticed that stopping dairy had a positive impact on PMS and menstrual pain. And it is not necessary because they were intolerant to lactose but the majority of fat found in dairy products are saturated, which might cause inflammation in the body. And we already know that inflammation is what worsens PMS. The less inflammation you have, the better you will feel.
Dairy products contain insulin-like Growth Factor 1. This is a hormone that promotes the production of androgen like hormones (such as testosterone) and it might worsen your hormonal imbalance and make your PMS/ menstrual pain worse.
Research shows that women with PMS tend to take in between 200 and 500 more calories per day. These usually come from sugary, refined foods. If you crave something sweet, it’s most probably because of the decrease of oestrogen and progesterone in your brain that let you feel depleted. While consuming some comfort food in moderation is not harmful, try maybe limiting it as much as possible and go towards whole grains and foods that are rich in proteins and healthy fats to keep your body going.
Caffeine, another history. Although so tasty and highly addictive, it should be limited to one cup a day as too much caffeine may make your cramps more intense. Coffee can cause “vasoconstriction” (your blood vessels narrow) and thus you might experience a more intense pain.
Regular alcohol consumption might lead to hormonal imbalances, irregular ovulation and periods (according to Flo.health). However, a glass or two of wine might help you relax and ease your pain while menstruating. Do what’s best for you but never forget to keep it in moderation!
Aubergines, tomatoes, white potatoes and peppers
Lastly, aubergines, tomatoes, white potatoes and peppers have pro-inflammation properties. This means that for some of you, these aliments might have negative effects. It’s not something I would have normally considered, but since I stopped tomatoes I have noticed a change in my digestion. You don’t even imagine the effects some foods have on you until you stop them. We are used to consume some foods daily, perhaps because of our culture, or because the false belief that “it’s healthy” but in reality, what is healthy is a very subjective experience.
The best advice I could have for you is to try eliminating one aliment for a period of 2-3 weeks and see how you feel. Do this with each of them (aubergines, tomatoes, white potatoes and peppers), one at a time and if you see you tolerate them well, add them back to your meal plan, if not, let them aside and limit their consumption.
Also, try whenever is possible to consume organic, bio foods as they will have different impact on your health and wellbeing. Not to add that they are far more nutritious and good for you.