Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) presents a combination of physical symptoms, behavioral and psychological changes that some women experience from a week before to a few days after their period.
The intensity of PMS varies according to hormonal, psychosocial and physiological factors and has been shown to be a limitation for women: it can reduce work productivity, lower health-related quality of life, increased dependence on self-care and interference in interpersonal relationships. and activities of daily living.
In addition, PMS can increase the risk of hypertension, reduce work-related quality of life, negatively impact sports activities and daily activities of athletes, and is significantly associated with impaired academic performance. Like many other syndromes, PMS arises from the interaction between genetic variables (in race/ethnicity) and lifestyle, with purity being considered the most important factor.
The Glucovibes Nutrition Team proposes several tips to improve premenstrual discomfort through what we eat.
1. Changing lifestyle should be the first approach to improve PMS
For women with mild symptoms, supportive measures and general types of healthy lifestyle support, such as regular exercise and a healthy diet, may be sufficient to improve symptoms.
2. Check the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein
Elevation of C-reactive protein (an inflammatory marker) above 3 mg/L was significantly associated with increased odds of reporting premenstrual symptoms, abdominal cramps/pain, increased appetite/weight gain/bloating and breast pain.
3. Dietary changes can have a significant impact on symptoms
Reduce the intake of salty foods, rich in sugars, red meat, tobacco and alcohol; increases the intake of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and water; and among foods rich in magnesium, calcium, vitamin E, vitamin B6 and tryptophan can significantly reduce premenstrual symptoms.
4. Eating fruits and vegetables will reduce premenstrual pain
Fruits and vegetables are foods high in fiber, bioactive phytochemicals, and carbohydrates. Studies support that fruit consumption can protect against psychological, physical and general symptoms of PMS. Fruit, as part of a healthy Mediterranean diet, reduces the occurrence and severity of cramps and PMS symptoms. Furthermore, the antioxidant power of various fruits may explain the protective role of fruits in PMS. For example: red fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, chard, celery, kale, etc.
5. Glucose spikes are linked to increased inflammation
It has been shown that in this period of the cycle there is more appetite for food rich in carbohydrates and sugars. This is due to the fact that, during fasting, there is a greater proportion of foods with a high glycemic index, causing sharper glucose peaks. Glucose spikes are known to increase inflammation in the body, therefore aggravating the PMS situation. It will be important to include complex carbohydrates, rich in fiber and nutrients, and accompany them with antioxidant vegetables and quality proteins and fats. For example: cookies, cookies, refined pasta, white bread, …
6. Include foods that support serotonin synthesis.
Serotonin levels also affect a woman’s mood with symptoms. Therefore, foods that promote the synthesis of this hormone can improve your condition. Foods rich in serotonin increase levels of tryptophan. We find this tryptophan in chicken, milk, cheese, fish, eggs, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and peanuts. However, for the synthesis of serotonin, the body needs, in addition to tryptophan, omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium and zinc. For this reason, foods rich in magnesium, such as bananas, nuts, vegetables and legumes, are also considered natural antidepressants, since they act favorably to increase serotonin.