Cramps. Bloating. Mood swings. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can really get you down. If you find yourself struggling each month in the days before Aunt Flo arrives, it’s time to get serious. We’re taught from a young age that PMS is just an inevitable part of being a woman and that there’s nothing you can do about it. Wrong!
As a Brain Warrior, you know you need to fight back to take control of your own health. You don’t have to feel anxious and crabby or have insatiable sugar cravings. The following PMS Rescue Plan offers general tips that can benefit every woman in her reproductive years.
Note: If you have severe PMS symptoms, it’s a good idea to check with your functional medicine or healthcare provider.
Eat a plant-based diet high in vegetables, healthy fats, and adequate clean protein.
Eating a healthy diet, such as the Omni Diet, can help keep hormones balanced throughout your cycle to minimize PMS symptoms. In particular, brassicas—think kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli—contain indole-3 carbinol, a substance that enhances estrogen metabolism. This is important because excess estrogen in the body is strongly linked to an increase in PMS.
PMS Rescue: Focus on foods like brassicas that help the body flush out excess estrogen, my Super Recall Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
Eliminate or minimize sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.
Shifting hormone levels in the days before your period can cause a dip in the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. This can lead to cravings for sugar that will give you an instant—but only temporary—boost in serotonin. Women who turn to wine and other alcohol as a way to self-medicate during those rocky PMS days can end up increasing symptoms like breast tenderness and mood swings. And downing giant mugs of coffee or other caffeinated drinks can cause irritability to spike.
PMS Rescue: For a healthier way to satisfy cravings, try my Nutty Butter Cups. Just say no to the booze and switch to herbal tea instead of caffeine.
Avoid estrogen-mimicking environmental toxins.
Some environmental toxins—such as insecticides, herbicides, pesticides, and the hormones that are pumped into animals in our agricultural system—mimic estrogen and can take the place of healthy estrogen. The same is true for bisphenol-A (BPA), a substance found in plastics— including water bottles, food containers, and plastic wraps—as well as in the lining of metal food cans. These estrogenic compounds can disrupt the endocrine system, interfere with hormone production, and cause serious imbalances. That all leads to increased risk of PMS symptoms.
PMS Rescue: To help maintain healthy hormone levels, eat organic, pasture-raised, hormone-free animal protein. In addition, use glass containers instead of plastic ones to store foods.
Make self-care a priority.
Skimping on sleep, sticking to the couch, and letting stress rule your life is a recipe for PMS. Feeling stressed out raises the risk of depression, bloating, body aches, and other PMS symptoms, according to a study in the Journal of Women’s Health. Other research shows that obesity is a risk factor for PMS. This is likely related to the fact that fat cells secrete estrogen, which means that the more fat you have on your body the more likely you are to have excess estrogen, which is linked to PMS. And a lack of sleep can make you feel irritated and increase cravings.
PMS Rescue: To keep PMS under control, get off the couch and get moving to reduce excess body fat, stick to a healthy sleep hygiene routine and consider supplements like Restful Sleep, and de-stress with relaxing meditations and calming supplements like Everyday Stress Relief.
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