Let me make something very clear from the get-go. Having a week every month of feeling bloated, overly emotional and depressed, having sore breasts, a spotty chin, craving carbs and feeling crabby is not normal. It is very common but it is wrong to assume that this is just part what it is to be female.
So, if you do dread the week before your period, you need to do something about it because it is perfectly possible for you to have no symptoms at all – honestly.
Start by cleaning up your diet. Lots of fresh fruit and veg; whole grains like brown rice, oats, pot barely and quinoa; keep well hydrated with fresh water and herbal teas; eat minimal amounts of refined carbs (ideally eliminate them) such a white bread, cakes, biscuits, crisps etc. and highly processed foods; avoid hydrogenated fats and eat only small but regular amounts of good quality fish and meat.
Cutting out sugary and fatty foods will make a big difference. Including lot of fresh, healthy foods will further help, not just because they are healthy foods but they also have a direct impact on your hormonal management as the fibres in these foods aid in the elimination of excess hormones which are passed from the liver to the intestines. Plenty of dietary fibre ensures these hormones are not re-circulated.
Also, the nutrients in these foods, especially magnesium, calcium, chromium and zinc are all instrumental in hormonal management and blood sugar control, so important pre-menstrually. So eat small, regular meals with a good balance of healthy carbs, high quality protein, healthy fats and plenty of fibre to keep you on an even keel.
Exercise -helps with blood sugar management, stress management and hormonal regulation, plus it elevates mood.
Relaxation and plenty of sleep are also key. So limit the alcohol, get to bed early and try some meditation, yoga, taking regular walks – whatever it takes to help you feel relaxed and calm.
There are several very effective natural remedies you can take to further ease your PMS and to regulate an irregular cycle. Here’s a list of some reliable favourites for those of you who suffer:
- High potency fish oil capsules – no I don’t have shares in little oily fish, but I ought to! Women who suffer with PMS almost always have very low omega 3 intake. Increasing your cellular levels of omega 3 will make a big difference to your hormonal management.
- Agnus Casts (Chaste Tree): A herb that can be taken as a tincture or capsule. It is adaptogenic, so helps to balance the hormones by triggering the pituitary gland. It is a very effective but I do advise getting some professional advice on taking this herbal remedy.
- Gamma Linoleic Acid (GLA): This is a form of omega 6 and is very effective at mitigating PMS symptoms. It is most often taken in the form of evening primrose oil (EPO) but borage oil is a more potent source although they contain the same active ingredient. So, when buying either EPO or borage oil check on the amount of GLA in the product as this is the active ingredient. You should be getting at least 150mg of GLA per capsule.
- Raspberry Leaf – as a tea or a tincture is very soothing and helps balance female hormones.
- Acupuncture – many studies have been conducted on the efficacy of acupuncture for hormonal issues.
So, get going on cleaning up your diet, get active, get some sleep, deal with your stress and try out regular supplementation of fish oils, GLA and maybe a herbal remedy. You may well find significant relief from the misery that is PMS.