Put A Cup In It

8 Foods That Can Help Ease PMS Symptoms and Boost Your Mood

Best Foods for PMS cravings from the experts at Put A Cup In It

Headaches, abdominal cramps, fatigue, bloating, and soreness — no one looks forward to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms. Yet, it’s estimated that as many as 75% of people who menstruate experience at least a handful of these during their cycle.

Your body is experiencing A LOT during menstruation, but did you know that certain foods can help ease PMS symptoms, satisfy cravings, and boost your mood? Making food choices that replenish the nutrients your body needs can be hugely helpful in your well-being during your cycle, and we’ve rounded up eight amazing super foods that best benefit your body!

8 Best Foods to Help your PMS Cravings:

1. Dark Chocolate

This one is first on the list for a reason. Yes — chocolate is actually GOOD for you! Antioxidants found in dark chocolate can help relax the walls of your vessels, lowering your blood pressure and improving overall circulation, which helps reduce symptoms like painful cramps caused by your uterus contracting.

Chocolate also contains magnesium, known to be a major mood booster and for its ability to help prevent migraines.Compounds in chocolate interact with your brain and can increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, hormones that can make you feel happier and more relaxed. Who doesn’t want a taste of that during PMS?

2. Avocados

Avocados are rich in nutrients that provide health benefits for your whole body. Adding them to your diet can help relieve symptoms like bloating and muscle cramps since they contain high levels of potassium, which naturally helps to rid your body of extra sodium.

The yummy, healthy fats in avocados can also help satisfy cravings for other fatty foods, which can keep you from loading up on less healthy options.

3. Greek Yogurt

Creamy, delicious, and flavorful — greek yogurt is a perfect go-to snack if you’re craving something a little decadent. The calcium in greek yogurt can help reduce menstrual cramps by relaxing the muscles in your body.

Your menstrual cycle can also affect pH levels in your body which can sometimes cause yeast infections. Foods like yogurt that are rich in natural probiotics are a great defense to keep balance with the bacteria in your vagina.

4. Eggs

Definitely don’t skip out on breakfast! Eggs are full of nutritious vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Some scientists believe that maintaining good levels of these in your body can greatly reduce PMS symptoms, and eggs are a great way to include them in your diet.

Eggs are also a great source of vitamin D, which helps with calcium absorption in the body. Absorbing more calcium helps your muscles to relax, which can help with things like cramps. The healthy protein in eggs will also keep you nourished and feeling full throughout the day.

5. Almonds

Almonds are known to help lower bad cholesterol in the body, and are packed with vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium. For those who experience swelling in the chest or breast pain during menstruation, the vitamin E in almonds can greatly reduce tenderness in those areas.

The healthy fats in almonds work similarly to avocado by satisfying cravings, and the added protein should help give you a healthy energy boost. If you don’t enjoy munching on nuts alone, try nut butter or adding nut-based milk to a smoothie.

6. Salmon

Salmon is high in omega-3s, which helps reduce inflammation that takes place in your body during menstruation. The inflammation is often the cause of symptoms like cramps. Omega-3s also promote blood flow to the uterus and increase progesterone production.

Other beneficial nutrients found in salmon are potassium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12, which are also known to reduce inflammation. Reducing inflammation in the body can be helpful in relieving breast tenderness and other PMS related pains some individuals experience.

Salmon is also low in saturated fat and a good source of lean protein!

7. Pumpkin Seeds

The magic of magnesium is at it again when it comes to pumpkin seeds. Like salmon, they’re also rich in omega-3s that can increase blood flow and reduce inflammation, in turn, reducing cramps.

Pumpkin seeds make a quick and easy snack that can satisfy those afternoon cravings. They’re also rich in other minerals like iron and zinc, and serve as a good source of fiber.

8. Dark Leafy Greens

Leafy greens like kale, spinach, and lettuce are high in nutrients like ironvitamin C, and calcium. Spinach is also high in magnesium, which by now you know is pretty much the wonder mineral when it comes to PMS.

It’s common for people who menstruate to epereince lower levels of iron in the days leading up to and during their cycle, especially those with a heavier flow. Combating low iron by eating iron-rich foods will help fight PMS symptoms like fatigue and achiness.

Be Sure Not To Overload On These Foods To Help With PMS Cravings and Symptoms

Sugar

Fluctuating levels of hormones like estrogen and progesterone can cause dips in serotonin in the brain, causing you to crave sugar during menstruation. The short boost sweets give to your blood sugar levels is usually followed by a not-so-sweet crash, which can make your mood even worse.

Salt

Salt leads to water retention in the body, which can contribute to that uncomfortable bloated feeling that can sometimes come with PMS. Avoiding highly processed foods and not adding too much extra salt to what you’re eating will help avoid bloating that can lead to cramping.

Alcohol

Your body actually needs more water during your menstrual cycle, and alcohol does exactly the opposite by dehydrating you. The sugars in alcohol can also affect pH balance in your body, and cause that crash after the spike in energy we mentioned earlier. While moderation is totally fine, be careful not to overdo it when it comes to drinks.

Caffeine? Well, Maybe

The ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) recommends avoiding caffeine, and this is advice often repeated, but a study in 2016 found that caffeine intake was not associated with PMS and that those recommendations may not do much good. All bodies are different, tolerances are different, etc. it may be worth trying to see if it works for you, but don’t feel like you need to add more stress to the situation by ditching your morning ritual.

While these foods to try (and avoid) can help provide relief when PMS symptoms hit, incorporating them all month long will help relieve unwanted symptoms of PMS much better than after they’ve started.

Rest, plenty of water, and even light exercise are also good ways to help reduce PMS symptoms and cravings. Use these suggestions as a starting point in finding the right balance for you!

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