9 ways to manage PMS naturally
Ah, PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome if we want to get official). We loathe it, but we have to learn to live with it. That’s where WF naturopath Belinda Kirkpatrick’s natural remedies come in.
PMS refers to the combination of the many and varied mood and emotional symptoms that we might experience before our period. The mood changes before your period can differ from month to month and person to person – some women feel irritable and impatient, others feel anxious or angry and alot feel teary, sensitive or depressed. In my clinic, I recommend that all women download a period tracker like the Seed iPhone App and log their symptoms which definitely helps them to see a pattern and understand when and why they might be prone to feeling more moody. Knowing it’s that week before your period is due can just give you a bit more space around your emotions and it can become easier to just walk away!
The good news is that you don’t have to feel this way! Many women have totally symptom-free cycles. Try the tips below to help manage PMS and balance your hormones
1 Ditch the bad stuff
Sugar, caffeine and alcohol will definitely make your PMS worse. Try cleaning up your diet for a month and see the difference.
2 Manage stress
Meditation is an awesome way to boost mood, promote clarity and reduce stress. Aim to learn quick and simple meditation techniques that can be practiced between meetings or before work to calm and enhance your mind.
The mood–boosting benefits of yoga have been used for centuries for health and mental wellbeing. Starting your day with a few simple ‘salute to the suns’ can be enough to just centre your mind and promote positivity if you don’t have time for a longer practice. Realistically though, any form of exercise that you enjoy will help produce those feel-good endorphins.
4 Eat good fats
Hormones are made from fats so make sure these are not excluded from your daily diet. Oily fish, containing high levels of omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon, trout, tuna and sardines have been shown to lift mood and balance hormones. Aim to include these fish in your diet a couple of times per week.
Ensure you’re getting a good amount of sleep every night to help keep your cortisol in check. When you don’t get enough sleep, your stress and cortisol levels rise, which affects the production of the hormone progesterone which is essential for reducing PMS.
6 Supplement it
Consider magnesium, B6, zinc and good quality fish oils.
7 Balance your blood sugar
Protein- containing foods must be eaten regularly during the day to support mood, energy and reduce stress. Try snacking on nuts and seeds, miso soup, chia puddings, hummus with carrot sticks or almond butter on sliced apple for a protein pick-me-up between meals.
8 Green leafy vegetables
Such as spinach, asparagus and kale contain high levels of folate which is involved in the production of feel-good neurotransmitters such as serotonin. Some people have problems absorbing the folate found in most over-the-counter supplements, making leafy greens a daily must-have!
9 Choose fresh and unprocessed
Whole foods are essential for mood and hormonal health. Studies have shown that people consuming high fibre fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds have better health and mood than those consuming more processed foods. Try to include veggies or salad at least twice daily.