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I Noticed How Bad My PMS Was When I Ate These Foods (And Helped Ease Them With 5 Others)

Hey there! So, picture this: You're trying to shed a few pounds, you're on a weight loss journey, maybe even dabbling with some Phentermine or Ozempic. But then bam, out of nowhere, PMS hits like a ton of bricks, and suddenly, your cravings are through the roof, your mood is all over the place, and the last thing on your mind is losing weight. Been there?

PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, is like that unwelcome guest who crashes on your couch once a month. It brings along mood swings, bloating, and cravings that seem to have a mind of their own. And let's not forget the cherry on top: it can sabotage even the best efforts at weight loss, leaving you feeling like you're fighting an uphill battle against your own body.

This Women's Month, we're focusing on all things YOU, girl. Check out these 5 foods that can make your PMS symptoms worse and learn what to eat instead.

What are the Common PMS Symptoms?

Ever felt like your body's playing a sneaky game of mood roulette? Welcome to the world of PMS, where one day you're on top of the world, and the next, you're battling the urge to eat everything in sight and feeling as bloated as a balloon. Rest assured you aren't combatting these common symptoms alone. Learn more about the top common PMS symptoms here.

  1. Mood swings: PMS can lead to noticeable shifts in mood, ranging from feeling irritable and easily angered to experiencing bouts of sadness or anxiety. These mood swings are often attributed to hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle.

  2. Food cravings: Many individuals experience intense cravings for specific types of foods, particularly those high in carbohydrates or sugar, during PMS. These cravings are thought to be linked to hormonal changes and fluctuations in neurotransmitters like serotonin.

  3. Bloating: PMS can cause abdominal bloating, leading to discomfort and a feeling of fullness in the abdomen. This bloating is often due to hormonal changes that affect fluid retention and digestion.

  4. Fatigue: Feelings of tiredness and fatigue are common PMS symptoms, often leaving individuals feeling lethargic and lacking in energy. Hormonal changes, disrupted sleep patterns, and increased stress levels can contribute to this fatigue during the premenstrual period.

  5. Breast tenderness: PMS may cause breast tenderness or swelling, making the breasts feel sensitive or painful to the touch. These changes are believed to be influenced by hormonal fluctuations, particularly levels of estrogen and progesterone, in the body

What are the Foods That Make PMS Worse?

Ever felt like your PMS symptoms were on overdrive? Well, it turns out, certain foods can kick them into high gear. From salty snacks that amp up bloating to sugary treats that fuel mood swings, what you eat can either ease or exacerbate those premenstrual woes.

1. Salt

Tired of feeling like you're carrying around an extra water weight backpack during PMS? Here's the scoop: ditch the salt shaker and steer clear of those highly processed munchies loaded with sodium. By cutting back on salt, you'll bid farewell to bloating and hello to a smoother, happier cycle.

What To Eat Instead: If you're looking for a savory treat to substitute for your favorite chips, try eating unsalted nuts instead. Nuts are like little powerhouses packed with omega-3 fatty acids, protein, magnesium, and vitamins, making them a stellar choice for overall health. Whether you snack on them solo, indulge in nut butters, or blend them into smoothies, incorporating nuts into your diet is a delicious and nutritious way to fuel your body.

2. Coffee

This might sound like such a bummer since coffee, as we all know, is our partner in crime in the morning. I, personally, don't know anyone who can't be on the go without a cup of Joe. While coffee can be a morning savior, it's a double-edged sword during PMS. Sure, caffeine can lead to water retention and bloating, plus worsen those pesky headaches. But hold on before ditching your beloved brew completely; abrupt caffeine withdrawal can trigger headaches too. So, if you're a daily coffee drinker, consider easing off gradually to mitigate potential digestive issues like diarrhea during your period.

What to Drink Instead: Drinking water is truly important, with or without PMS but if you're really looking for a drink, try consuming peppermint or ginger tea. According to a 2016 study, peppermint tea has the power to alleviate those pesky symptoms like menstrual cramps, nausea, and even the dreaded diarrhea, making it a refreshing remedy for those tough premenstrual days.

3. Spicy Food

During menstruation, some people might experience heightened sensitivity to foods, including spicy dishes. This sensitivity can be due to hormonal fluctuations that affect the digestive system. Prostaglandins, chemicals that are involved in pain and inflammation, play a role in the menstrual cycle and can cause increased intestinal activity, leading to symptoms like diarrhea and nausea. For those who already have a sensitive digestive system or conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), eating spicy foods during their period might worsen these symptoms.

What To Eat Instead: Looking for a bit of flavor in your dishes but can't do spicy? Try adding some ginger for that zing. Ginger is recognized for its potential to alleviate nausea, particularly during the first trimester of pregnancy, with studies such as one from 2018 highlighting its effectiveness. Its safety, coupled with its relatively low cost, makes it an appealing remedy for morning sickness. However, it's important to consume ginger in moderation, as intake exceeding 4 grams per day can lead to adverse effects like heartburn and stomachaches.

4. Red Meat

During menstruation, the body produces prostaglandins, essential compounds that facilitate uterine contractions to shed the uterine lining, thereby enabling menstrual flow. Although necessary for this process, elevated prostaglandin levels are associated with menstrual cramps. While red meat is recognized for its iron content, beneficial for replenishing the iron lost during menstruation, it's also known to contain high levels of prostaglandins.

Consequently, consuming red meat during periods might exacerbate cramping due to its prostaglandin content, suggesting a consideration to limit or avoid it during menstruation for those who experience severe cramps.

What to Eat Instead: Tofu. Tofu has always been hailed as a popular food item that helps manage PMS. Tofu, a staple in vegetarian and vegan diets, is crafted from soybeans and serves as an excellent source of protein. It boasts a nutritional profile enriched with vital minerals such as iron, magnesium, and calcium, making it not only a versatile ingredient in a variety of dishes but also a key component in supporting overall health and wellness.

5. Sugar

Consuming sugar in moderation is generally acceptable, yet overindulgence may lead to an immediate surge in energy, swiftly followed by a downturn, adversely affecting your mood. This is particularly relevant for individuals who experience mood fluctuations, depression, or anxiety during their menstrual cycle. Carefully monitoring and adjusting your sugar consumption during such times might aid in stabilizing mood variations, offering a simple yet effective way to manage emotional well-being.

What to Eat Instead: Craving for a real sweet treat? Why not go for Yogurt? Yeast infections, commonly experienced during or after menstrual periods, can be recurrent and troublesome for many. Incorporating probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt into one's diet is a proactive approach to enhancing the beneficial bacteria in the vaginal flora, potentially aiding in the prevention and management of these infections.

Beyond its probiotic benefits, yogurt is also a valuable source of magnesium and calcium, among other vital nutrients, offering multiple health advantages. This dual benefit of supporting vaginal health while also contributing to overall nutritional well-being makes yogurt an excellent dietary choice for those prone to yeast infections.

What Other Things Can I Do To Lessen My PMS Symptoms?

  • Exercise: Light cardio and yoga may help reduce menstrual cramps, offering a natural method to alleviate pain.

  • Hot Compresses: Using hot water bottles or microwaveable hot compresses can soothe abdominal and back pain.

  • Over-the-Counter Medication: Ibuprofen and similar OTC meds can effectively reduce cramps.

  • Massages: Massaging the stomach or back can decrease menstrual pain, with a small 2010 study indicating relief in subjects with endometriosis.

Take Control of Your Goals Right Now

Understanding the complexities of late-night eating and its impact on weight management is crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. While some studies suggest a correlation between nighttime eating and weight gain, it's essential to consider various factors, including overall dietary habits, food choices, and individual metabolism. Instead of focusing solely on the timing of meals, prioritize a balanced diet, portion control, and mindful eating practices throughout the day. Making informed choices and listening to your body's hunger cues can help promote better health outcomes regardless of when you eat.


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