What premenstrual syndrome (PMS) diet is suggested?A daily diet based on general nutrition guidelines can help in overall well-being as well as premenstrual syndrome control. Eating sweets causes a sudden rise in blood sugar that triggers an insulin response, which results in a subsequent rapid fall in blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can cause PMS-like symptoms such as irritability and fatigue. To avoid hypoglycemia, eat healthy meals at regular intervals throughout the day and avoid excess sugar.
Complex carbohydrates and proteins in healthy foods are digested and absorbed more slowly than refined sugar, insuring a steady, gradual supply of nutrients to the bloodstream. Nutritionists typically advise a diet that consists of 50% carbohydrates, 20% protein and 30% fat. In women with premenstrual syndrome, an attempt to change the diet to a ratio of 60/20/20 is advisable, but can be difficult to accomplish. Avoiding sodium may help control premenstrual fluid retention. Most Americans consume 4,000 to 6,000 mg of salt a day, and if the diet is composed of large amounts of processed foods, salt intake can approach 10,000 mg a day. If fluid retention is a troublesome symptom, restricting salt to 2,000 to 4,000 mg a day is advisable. Use the following basic principles of low-salt nutrition to gradually reduce your salt intake:
- Eliminate table salt (season with herbs, lemon juice or vinegar)
- To lessen bloating and water retention, avoid foods high in salt (sodium), especially in the week before your period.
- Because diet may play a role in symptoms associated with low blood sugar, avoid candy, soda, and other sugary foods, especially in the week before your period. Eat fresh rather than processed food
- Read food product labels for sodium amounts
- Change your ordering patterns in restaurants
An adequate vitamin and mineral intake may also help with premenstrual syndrome symptoms.
Vitamin E: Studies do not agree about how much vitamin E may be helpful, but 300-400 IU per day is a safe dose that may be of benefit.
Calcium: Some women get relief being careful to take at least 1,200 mg of calcium per day, through a combination of normal eating and taking supplements.
Magnesium: Most studies that have evaluated magnesium have failed to show overall benefit. One study of magnesium (200 mg/day) with 50 mg of vitamin B6 showed a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms, compared to magnesium alone. Food sources of magnesium include nuts, legumes, whole grains, dark green vegetables, seafood (oysters), and meats.