We’ve all been there; the bloating, the cramping, mood swings, anxiety, breast tenderness, acne and insatiable cravings for chocolate. Leaving you wondering why is this happening and is it normal? Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can be caused by hormonal imbalances, which can be brought on by many things such as poor diet, exposure to environmental toxins like artificial estrogens, stress and perhaps even from a congested liver. And although you might feel like these symptoms are part of being a woman, the truth is that these feelings, most of which quite common, are not something you should or need to be experiencing. Before you reach for that ibuprofen, or hibernate for 7 days, try these few simple tips to alleviate your PMS.
1. Include more cruciferous vegetables in your diet.
The foods in the cruciferous family include broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, cabbage and kohlrabi. These foods contain a substance called indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which can help with hormonal imbalances, specifically estrogen metabolism. These foods also contain a component called sulfurophane, which can help the body with its detoxing process. Try to get a serving in everyday!
2. Support your liver function.
Your liver has many responsibilities, one of them being regulating hormones. Having a congested liver could impair estrogen detox and lead to PMS symptoms. The best liver supporting foods are lemons, cruciferous vegetables, beets, garlic and leafy greens. You can also include herbs such as milk thistle or make yourself some dandelion tea to support your liver function. One of the best ways to start your morning is with a glass of warm water with half a lemon squeezed into it.
3. Blood sugar balancing
Blood sugar balancing can play a huge role in managing your PMS. When your sugar levels are stable, it can help with mood, energy and fatigue among many other things. To keep your blood sugar balanced, eat regularly every 3-4 hours, combine protein, carbohydrate and fats every time you eat, ALWAYS eat breakfast and don’t eat a big meal within 2 hours of going to bed. Another important factor is to avoid refined grains and sugar, which cause drastic spikes in your blood sugar levels. If you are having trouble cutting sugar out of your diet, check out Dr. Meaghan McCollum’s blog here.
Fiber not only helps with blood sugar balancing, it also helps your body get rid of toxins, including bad kinds of estrogens. Include high fiber foods such as chia seeds, beans, legumes and plenty of vegetables. Milled or ground flaxseeds are also a healthy source of fiber and they also contain something called lingans, which help in regulating your hormones.
5. Manage stress
Stress is factor in almost any health related issues, including PMS. Learn stress-managing techniques and incorporate them regularly. Take a bath with Epsom salts, get regular massages, try out a yoga class, do some deep breathing or get out and enjoy nature.
Not only does exercise help to elevate your mood, it also helps you maintain blood sugar levels, and can increase your energy levels. Something as simple as a 30 minute brisk walk can do the trick.
If you feel like you have tried many things to get your PMS under control but nothing is working, maybe it’s time to visit your health care practitioner to see if something more is going on with your hormones and what else you can do.
If you are looking for more information about cleaning up your beauty care products and how to make better choices with products, please join me for a skin care workshop on May 26, where toxins lurking in beauty products, and healthy alternatives will be addressed.
Tracy Thiessen is a Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant, C.H.N.C.™. Her interest in nutrition started at a young age, when she learned how to prepare meals but also began to question what was in the foods she ate. Her curiosity and interest continued after seeing major improvements in her own health after modifying her diet and altering her lifestyle, which led her to study Nutrition.