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Six Foods That Can Help You Fight Menstrual Stress

It's estimated that three out of every four menstruating women experience some form of menstrual stress, such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or menstrual cramps.

PMS stress

Estimates of exactly how many menstruating women get PMS vary widely, but some go as high as 80 percent!

What causes PMS and cramps? Because the changes that happen during PMS coincide with changes in hormone levels during the menstrual cycle, the most widespread theory about PMS is that it's related to changes in female sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone (though how it's related isn't clear).

Other theories have been suggested including that PMS could:

  • Be related to hypoglycemia (abnormally low blood sugar levels) or hypothyroidism (abnormally low levels of thyroid hormones).

  • Be related to pituitary hormones, prostaglandins and neurotransmitters in the brain.

  • Be due to a diet lacking in B vitamins, calcium or magnesium.

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If there were to be a consensus among experts, however, it's likely to be that PMS is due to a variety of factors, including the physiological ones listed above, but also because of genetics, environment and lifestyle factors like nutrition and stress.

Menstrual cramps, meanwhile, may be caused by prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances involved in pain and inflammation that trigger your uterus to contract to expel its lining.

Though the symptoms of menstrual stress, which can range from upset stomach and muscle pain to food cravings, depression and trouble concentrating, can feel inescapable, the following foods may help to soothe both your mind and body before and during menstruation.

  1. Dairy foods. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that women who ate four servings or more a day of a dairy product were less likely to develop PMS symptoms including anxiety, loneliness, irritability, tearfulness and tension.

  2. Raw pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium, which has been found to help reduce fluid retention, breast tenderness and bloating caused by PMS.

fruits and vegetables for PMS

Eating plenty of fruits and veggies is an excellent way to boost your body's nutrient levels and keep PMS symptoms to a minimum.

  1. Chicken. Chicken is a great source of vitamin B6, which may help to relieve some symptoms of PMS, according to the Mayo Clinic.

  2. Almonds. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, which helps to reduce the production of prostaglandins that may contribute to cramps and breast tenderness.

  3. Leafy greens. Green vegetables like spinach, collard greens, turnip greens and mustard greens are loaded with calcium, which has been found to reduce both the physical and mental symptoms of PMS.

  4. Consider a multivitamin. Because some symptoms of PMS have been linked to low levels of nutrients, you may want to take a multivitamin. We highly recommend the Ultravite PMS Formula for this purpose. It's an all-natural multi-mineral and vitamin supplement, specifically formulated to relieve and prevent the symptoms of PMS. It's rich in calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin E and much, much more.

Recommended Reading

Want to Reduce PMS? Eat Some Cheese, Get Some Sun and Take These Other Steps

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The World's Healthiest Foods

The Mayo Clinic

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