1. Eat a Nutrient Dense Diet To Avoid Nutrient Deficiencies.
Nutrient deficiencies are associated with increase risk of PMS symptoms, so make sure you are eating a diverse amount of fresh fruit, vegetables, and animal meat to maximize your intake in nutrients. Women with dietary intake low in vitamin E, essential fatty acids (EFAs), selenium, calcium, glutathione, and vitamin D have been shown to have a higher risk in experiencing PMS symptoms.
Food Sources For Vitamin E
Spinach, Almonds, Chard, avocados, wheat germ, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and sunflower seeds.
Food Sources For EFAs
Wild caught salmon, mackerel, egg yolks, herring, sardines, anchovies, cod liver oil, tuna, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds.
Food Sources For Selenium (caveat: the amount of selenium in food depends on the soil it was grown in)
Brazil nuts, halibut, sardines, wild caught salmon, grass-fed beef, beef liver, chicken liver, and pasture raised eggs.
Food Sources For Calcium
Raw milk, broccoli, sardines with bones, watercress, kale, cheese, bok chop, okra, and yogurt.
Food Sources For Glutathione
I have written an article that goes more into depth about food sources for glutathione here.
2. Get Light and Experiment with Eating Dark Chocolate
Direct natural light and the polyphenols in dark chocolate induce the release of Nitric Oxide (NO), which promotes blood vessels to dilate. The caveat with direct natural light is to avoid sunburns and the caveat with dark chocolate is that if you are sensitive to theobromine (a stimulant in dark chocolate), try experimenting with how much works for you and maybe eating it earlier than later in the day to avoid negative effects on your sleep. I talk more about theobromine in the following video.
My last thoughts on light and dark chocolate is that at the end of the menstrual cycle, estrogen takes a dip. Since estrogen works as an antioxidant and blood vessel dilator, I am guessing that getting direct natural light and the polyphenols in dark chocolate may function to subsidize this dip in estrogen levels for people with nutrient deficiencies. This is a guess and still needs to be tested, but I wanted to share my thoughts in case any researchers are looking for new hypothesis to test. Hint, hint!
You can read the following articles for more information about direct natural light and dark chocolate.
3. Practice Meditation and Yoga
Practicing meditation and yoga can help manage stress help and with emotional self-regulation, so I am not surprise that research has shown that both practices can help manage PMS symptoms.
You can listen to some of my meditation recordings on my website and Youtube.
These tips are part of a longer project I am doing on Instagram, called 30 Days Of Stress Management. If you want more stress management tips, check out past blog posts or my Instagram account at Riosstrength. There is a link to my Instagram account at the bottom of each page on my website, if you cannot find my account through my handle.
If you would like more help, I offer private sessions in San Francisco and online. For a free consultation, please email me. In May, I plan to offer an integrative group programming (movement, meditation, and holistic nutrition). Click here for more information.
- Fathizadeh, S., Amani, R., Haghighizadeh, M. H., & Hormozi, R. (2016). Comparison of serum zinc concentrations and body antioxidant status between young women with premenstrual syndrome and normal controls: A case-control study. International Journal of Reproductive Biomedicine, 14(11), 699–704.
- Chocano-Bedoya, P. O., Manson, J. E., Hankinson, S. E., Willett, W. C., Johnson, S. R., Chasan-Taber, L., … Bertone-Johnson, E. R. (2011). Dietary B vitamin intake and incident premenstrual syndrome. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 93(5), 1080–1086. http://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.110.009530
- Chocano-Bedoya, P. O., Manson, J. E., Hankinson, S. E., Johnson, S. R., Chasan-Taber, L., Ronnenberg, A. G., … Bertone-Johnson, E. R. (2013). Intake of Selected Minerals and Risk of Premenstrual Syndrome. American Journal of Epidemiology, 177(10), 1118–1127. http://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kws363
- Saeedian Kia, A., Amani, R., & Cheraghian, B. (2015). The Association between the Risk of Premenstrual Syndrome and Vitamin D, Calcium, and Magnesium Status among University Students: A Case Control Study. Health Promotion Perspectives, 5(3), 225–230. http://doi.org/10.15171/hpp.2015.027
- Deutch, B. (1996). Painful menstruation and low intake of n-3 fatty acids. Ugeskr Laeger. Jul 15;158(29):4195-8.
- Sohrabi, N. Kashanian, M. Ghafoori, S.S. Malakouti, S.K. (2013). Evaluation of the effect of omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome: "a pilot trial". Complementary Therapies in Medicine. Jun;21(3):141-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2012.12.008. Epub 2013 Jan 16.
- Shaik, M. M., & Gan, S. H. (2015). Vitamin Supplementation as Possible Prophylactic Treatment against Migraine with Aura and Menstrual Migraine. BioMed Research International, 2015, 469529. http://doi.org/10.1155/2015/469529
- Dadkhah, H., Ebrahimi, E., & Fathizadeh, N. (2016). Evaluating the effects of vitamin D and vitamin E supplement on premenstrual syndrome: A randomized, double-blind, controlled trial. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, 21(2), 159–164. http://doi.org/10.4103/1735-9066.178237
Direct Natural Light and Dark Chocolate
- Einon, D. (1997).The influence of ambient light and menstrual status on the moods of a nonclinical population of young women. Psychosomatic Medicine. Nov-Dec;59(6):616-9.
- Mendelsohn, M.E. Karas, R.H. (1994). Estrogen and the blood vessel wall. Current Opinion Cardiology. 9(5):619-26.
- Aan Het Rot, M. Miloserdov, K. Buijze, A.L.F. Meesters, Y. Gordijn, M.C.M. (2017). Premenstrual mood and empathy after a single light therapy session. Psychiatry Research. Jun 16;256:212-218. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.06.052. [Epub ahead of print]
- Magrone, T., Russo, M. A., & Jirillo, E. (2017). Cocoa and Dark Chocolate Polyphenols: From Biology to Clinical Applications. Frontiers in Immunology, 8, 677. http://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2017.00677
- Wan, Y. Vinson, J.A. Etherton, T.D. Proch, J. Lazarus, S.A. Kris-Etherton, P.M. (2001). Effects of cocoa powder and dark chocolate on LDL oxidative susceptibility and prostaglandin concentrations in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. Nov;74(5):596-602.
Meditation And Yoga
- Wu, W.L. Lin, T.Y. Chu, I.H. Liang, J.M. (2015). The acute effects of yoga on cognitive measures for women with premenstrual syndrome. Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine. Jun;21(6):364-9. doi: 10.1089/acm.2015.0070. Epub 2015 May 12.
- Bharati, M. (2016). Comparing the Effects of Yoga & Oral Calcium Administration in Alleviating Symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome in Medical Undergraduates. Journal of Caring Sciences, 5(3), 179–185. http://doi.org/10.15171/jcs.2016.019
- Tsai, S.-Y. (2016). Effect of Yoga Exercise on Premenstrual Symptoms among Female Employees in Taiwan. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(7), 721. http://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13070721