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What is premenstrual syndrome?

PMS symptoms start from 5 to 11 days before menstruation ​and could last until 7 days after the start of menstruation. Changes in level of progesterone and estrogen hormones could cause mood swings, irritable, anxiety or depression. Other symptoms include sore breast, sweet cravings, painful abdominal cramps/bloating, headaches and migraine, water retention, aching back, limbs, fatigue, nauseous or diarrhea.

female friends

Here are a few natural ways to relieve premenstrual syndrome (PMS):

#1 Nutritional aids

Keep track of this time of the month so you could plan ahead to prevent PMS symptoms.

Eat a small amount of starchy food every 3 – 4 hours. This will ensure a healthy blood sugar balance (oats, bread, rice, potatoes, corn). This will ensure that a correct progesterone (important hormone release by the ovaries and adrenals) absorption can take place, to prevent an excess of adrenaline (hormone responsible for fight or flight response) in the body as blood sugar level drops, leading to physical symptoms of breast tenderness, water retention, anxiety and feeling of irritability. ​

Reduce intake of refined sugar, chocolate, salt and saturated fats. Prepare a snack pack of fresh fruit instead, i.e bananas, grapes, apples and pears, their fructose will curb your appetite for sweet cravings. Nut and seeds are also good source of healthy plan oils rather than harmful saturated fats. Include plenty of fresh vegetables in your diet will also help keep PMS at bay (spinach for iron & calcium, dill helps with digestion, etc.) Tuna and salmon are high in omega-3, good source of fat for your diet in those days.

#2 Essential vitamin & supplements

Vitamin E helps ease breast tenderness and decrease the size of fibrous breast lumps before period. This vitamin is found in sunflower and pumpkin, spinach, whole grains, avocado, beef, seafood and carrots.

Vitamin C, a shortage of vitamin C could result in poor digestion, water retention and lack of energy, so it is essential to have enough prior and during your period. It can be found in citrus fruits, fresh berries, tomatoes, guava, melon. Daily supplement of 500–1000 mg could help ease PMS symptoms.

Vitamin B6/ Pyridoxine helps balance female hormones and prevent depression. This could be found in chicken, fish, eggs, carrots, walnuts. Vitamin supplements of 50 -100 mg daily, but no more than 200 mg per day, could help with PMS symptoms.

Magnesium reduces cravings for refined sugar and chocolate, provide a boost to energy levels, help body absorb calcium. Magnesium-rich food includes fish, legumes, apples, banana, nut and dark green vegetables. The recommended daily dose is 300 – 500 mg, to take when PMS symptoms present.

Zinc is important to our body and skin, help with acne and rosacea (a common skin condition that causes small, red, pus-filled bumps and redness on the face), can be found in pumpkin seeds, oysters and beef. Daily recommended dose is 50 mg, with food to prevent stomach upset.

Niacinamide (vitamin B3) is helpful to acne due to its potent anti-inflammatory effect on your skin and to maintain the barrier function of our skin, could help with acne PMS. The recommended dose is 500 – 800 mg twice daily for skin’s health.

​Calcium could help with mood swings, breast tenderness, abdominal and leg cramps. Calcium is available in dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese and leafy green vegetables. Daily recommended dose would be 1000 -1200 mg.

#3 Herbal, vegetables and oil relieve

Ginger​ soothes irritation, ease cramps and aid digestion. Infused fresh ginger in boiling water for 5 minutes on heat, add turmeric and 1–2 spoons of honey to taste, turn off the heat then squeeze in a lemon and stir well. Enjoy!

Peppermint with its cooling sensation eliminates abdominal cramps, nausea, gas, bloating and spastic colon. Enjoy a peppermint tea after meal.

Evening Primrose and Borage Oil, derived from plants and have excellent anti-inflammatory fatty acids, and are important to our hormones’ production, helps stabilize imbalances pre-menstrual, also good for treatment of acne.

#4 Choose warm over coldness

Drink plenty of warm fluids to ease abdominal bloating. Place a warm wheat pack or hot water bottle wrap in towel on lower abdominal area to help with cramps or muscle spasm. Stay warm ​

#5 Be active

Find a form of exercise that you enjoy doing i.e yoga, Pilates, stress alleviating aerobics, stretching, swimming, aqua aerobics or water jogging before your period. to stretch fatigue muscles and tissues. References:

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