Often the focus of crude jokes, PMS is an all too real scourge for many women. PMS stands for Pre-Menstrual Syndrome and refers to the wide range of feelings and symptoms that many women experience in the two weeks leading up to the beginning of their menstrual cycle. Many women report feeling out of sorts, easily frustrated and overwhelmed. Often food cravings for salty, sweet or chocolate foods, are reported. In a few rare cases, women have even used the hormonal swings of PMS to avoid prosecution for crime.
Many women turn to medications, such as antidepressants, to minimize the mood swings and unpleasant feelings of PMS. Zoloft is one drug that has been cleared by the FDA for treatment of PMS symptoms, but recent studies have shown that there is relief to be found in natural sources.
Vitamin B6 has been proven to lessen the symptoms of PMS. In a study published in the British Journal of Clinical Practice, 630 women were given supplemental vitamin B6. Less than 150 milligrams was effective in reducing symptoms in 66 percent of the women, and close to 80 percent found relief with less than 200 milligrams. Interestingly enough, women who suffer from severe PMS are often counseled to avoid sugar, as B vitamins are used to digest sugar and this action depletes the body. For foods rich in B vitamins, try adding roasted chicken or turkey to your daily diet. Fresh vegetables such as bell peppers, spinach and green peas are excellent sources, as well as a regular baked potato – just don’t add the butter and sour cream!
Another vitamin powerhouse is Vitamin E. A study published by the Journal of Reproductive Medicine found that virtually every woman in the study was helped by an extra supplementation of vitamin E, in the neighborhood of 400 milligrams. To add vitamin E into your diet with a food source, add sunflower seeds and almonds to your spinach salad, or munch on a few dried apricots.
Vitamin D is a great help to those who suffer from PMS, but only in a high enough dose to be effective. The Archives of Internal Medicine discovered that women with at least 700 IU per day suffered from almost no PMS. One of the best foods for vitamin D is skim milk.
Calcium and Magnesium are a set of supplements that work to help support a woman’s system. Both supplements work together to reduce cramping and reduce water retention. It’s difficult to balance these in foods, though, as too much calcium can upset the balance of magnesium and vice versa. One outstanding way to get extra magnesium into your body is by soaking in an Epsom salt bath, which has the bonus benefit of relaxing the body. While soaking, sip a cup of warm skim milk with a spoonful of honey added, and you’ll have three supplements covered – and you will have the bonus of being extra relaxed.