I was recently asked if I had any tips for women experiencing premenstrual syndrome, PMS and monthly irritability as she felt she was making her husband miserable during her monthly cycle.
Premenstrual Syndrome (aka, PMS) can cause:
- mood swings
- tender breasts
- food cravings
But why does this happen?
Although the reasons women experience PMS is not fully understood, there are a few theories on why this occurs.
- Symptoms of premenstrual syndrome change with hormonal fluctuations and chemical changes in the brain.
- Fluctuations of serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that’s thought to play a crucial role in moods, could trigger PMS symptoms. Insufficient amounts of serotonin may contribute to premenstrual depression, as well as to fatigue, food cravings and sleep problems.
- Depression. Some women with severe premenstrual syndrome have diagnosed depression, though depression alone does not cause all of the symptoms
I have known many women, including myself who crave chocolate during this time
But why chocolate?
Researchers believe this women crave chocolate because of the drop in serotonin and the rise of cortisol on their periods, causing them to crave sweet and salty foods such as chocolate and chips. These cause a rise in serotonin, this making you feel good.
So, it’s not just chocolate you’re craving, but sugar and carbohydrates in general. Since most women love chocolate, this is why women usually crave chocolate.
What can you do to alleviate PMS and other symptoms?
- Regular exercise (30 minutes a day of low intensity, low impact activity)
- Relaxation (meditation, listening to soothing music)
- Get regular sleep (at least 7 hours a night)
- Choose complex carbohydrates such as squash, potatoes, and cassava
- Refrain from sugar and unhealthy fats such as canola and vegetable oils
- Minimize alcohol, which your body processes as sugar
- Eat calcium rich vegetable such as leafy greens
- Add a magnesium supplement (Primal Life offers a magnesium supplement that includes B6)
- Add 50 mg of B6 (Primal Life offers a B6 supplement that includes magnesium)
Overall, keeping active with low-impact and low-intensity exercise and eating fresh, nutrient-dense foods in a variety of colors will naturally alleviate and relieve the symptoms associated with PMS.
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