'We are what we eat,' according to some experts; however this might be especially true when it comes to our diet if we suffer from PMS. Our PMS expert Emma Ross is on hand to identify what we should be eating and what food products are actually causing us more harm than good.
What you eat has a surprisingly significant impact on how you feel and behave. Food is converted into energy for warmth, movement, cell function and tissue repair. It also has a major influence on what happens to the hormones produced by our bodies.
One of the more common symptoms of PMS is food cravings, usually for fatty, salty or sugary foods. These are caused by an imbalance in your hormones – and are in a way, similar to the cravings one might get during pregnancy.
Cravings can make it difficult to stick to any healthy eating plan, but don’t make this an excuse. Follow a suitable and balanced diet for the days of the month when you do not have cravings, and when they come, find a way to suppress or satisfy your cravings without indulging in the wrong types of food.
The PMS diet
Following a PMS diet need not be difficult and is likely to bring you benefits. When suffering PMS, certain foods have been identified to be essential to eat:
Wholegrains – those from wheat, oats, rice, corn and barley are an excellent source of energy. Adding these to your diet will reduce symptoms of lethargy or tiredness. Eating wholegrains in or close to their original form is the most beneficial. When looking at wholegrain bread, for example, make sure that the bread is not partly made from wholegrain flour with white flour as a substitute
Vegetables and fruit – as we all know, getting our five-a-day is important. Fruit is naturally sweet and so gives you natural sugars – this makes it easier for you to avoid refined sugars which are more addictive with a greater tendency to cause weight gain
Beans – these mostly provide you with carbohydrates but are high in fibre. They can be eaten instead of wholegrains as they have similar benefits in your diet
Nuts – if you avoid the salted or fried varieties, nuts are high in protein and provide a source of healthy fat. Eaten in moderation, nuts are a great source of energy
Healthy fat – unlike saturated fats, it is important to add healthy fats to your diet. For example, ditching the butter you cook in for olive oil and having more omega-3 fats in your diet by eating oily fish are simple changes which may benefit you enormously
Healthy protein – we tend to eat too much protein which is why it gets so much bad press. However, proteins are an important aspect of our diets and eating it in moderation helps to keep our blood sugar and our moods stable
Magnesium – this is an important trace element to include in our diet. A lack of magnesium can trigger or worsen some symptoms associated with PMS such as headaches, mood swings, or restlessness. Magnesium can be found in foods such as dark leafy greens or nuts and seeds.