What are the best foods for PMS?
Fill up your shopping cart with these foods. And make sure you note the best choices
for key PMS-fighting nutrients.
If your PMS grocery shopping list consists of chocolate bars, tortilla chips, and
triple chunk ice cream, we’ve got some helpful news for you.
With a few simple changes to the food you eat, you can reduce, and even
prevent, PMS symptoms.
In fact, eating is one of the simplest and most effective methods for controlling
monthly irritability, bloating, anxiety, and cramps — along with many more of the
most common PMS symptoms.
Food choices can be a powerful source of relief for PMS symptoms. By understanding
why what you eat matters, knowing which foods are PMS-friendly, and following our
general guidelines, you can create big results. We know they’ll work for you too!
Why what you eat matters — a lot
The food you eat has a direct impact on how you feel because of your diet’s influence
on key factors that affect both the severity and frequency of PMS symptoms:
How Food Can Cause Trouble...
How the Right Food Can Help...
Balance between estrogen and progesterone
Fuels fluctuations and spikes in estrogen and progesterone ratios, which worsen
Decreases the imbalances caused by fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone ratios
and helps prevent PMS symptoms.
Creates a “sugar rush” followed by a crash, which increases symptoms.
Stabilizes blood sugar levels to prevent symptoms.
Necessary nutrient status
Leads to gaps in nutrition that can produce PMS symptoms.
Provides the support our bodies need during ovulation and menstruation, which helps
control PMS symptoms.
Making good nutritional choices is important for women who are more likely to suffer
from PMS — especially those in their late 20s through early 40s. And it has long-lasting
effects because women who experience PMS also have a higher risk for more dramatic
perimenopause and menopause symptoms later in life. That’s why so many women find
it helpful to make diet changes before they enter the midlife transition.
Try our PMS Relief Packge, which includes
a flexible eating plan.
Getting started: Tips to incorporate the right foods into your diet
Over the years, Women's Health Network customers have shared their secrets for improving
their diets and reducing their PMS symptoms:
If you don’t like standard breakfast foods...
Non-traditional choices are good for breakfast too. Try a turkey burger, soup, leftover
chicken and vegetables, or half of a healthy, whole grain sandwich. With a good
breakfast, the rest of the day often falls into place.
If you’re addicted to caffeine...
Get started by reducing your caffeine intake slowly. Many women find success cutting
down a ½ cup at a time (for coffee drinkers, mix regular with decaf; for soda and
cola drinkers, gradually replace with flavored and unsweetened water, plain for
fizzy). There are a wide variety of teas available too — even chocolate!
If you can’t imagine not having dessert...
Continue to enjoy sweet treats – such as fruit with cinnamon, fruit salad or your
favorite treat recipes made with maple syrup or Stevia, rather than refined sugar.
A small square of dark chocolate is a good treat too. Look for 70 percent cocoa
content or higher.
If you like to eat out...
You can still go to restaurants! Try having a big salad with lots of protein. Japanese
food gives you lots of good options – sashimi, seaweed, natto and brown rice, along
with a variety of super-tasty vegetables. Indian food has wonderful choices including
curry dishes, lots of vegetables, and protein-packed lentils.
If you’re a snacker...
Nuts and seeds are great choices and there are so many options — pumpkin seeds,
sesame seeds, walnuts, almonds and Brazil nuts!
If you don’t like vegetables...
Be sneaky and disguise your veggies. Include a handful of spinach in a fruit smoothie
and you’ll never notice. Experiment by preparing vegetables with new herbs and spices,
such as ginger and turmeric. Coconut milk and curries can also give you a flavor
If you’re a vegan...
Make an extra effort to get protein at every meal, and include nuts and seeds for
healthy fats, and lentils for protein.
What are some overall “good eating” guidelines for PMS?
- Eat a variety of foods, including healthy fats, complex carbohydrates/fiber and
protein at every meal (and snack!).
- Eat three balanced meals and two snacks a day to stop cravings and keep your metabolism
- Avoid white sugar, refined carbohydrates, salt, cocktails, non-organic dairy, caffeine,
and processed foods of all kinds. (See better food choices in the slideshow above.)
- Ensure you’re getting the right amount of each key nutrient every day by taking
a high-quality multi vitamin that includes calcium, magnesium, vitamin E, and vitamin
- Be aware that pre-packaged foods that say “organic” may still be very high in sodium
or gluten. Become a label reader!
Small steps = substantial results
When it comes to making PMS-friendly nutritional choices — you have a lot of options!
We encourage you to remember not to overwhelm yourself with everything that you
“could” do. It’s okay to start slowly and make changes that work for you and your
lifestyle right now. We also encourage you to relax and make eating a pleasurable
experience by choosing foods you truly enjoy. As often as possible, take time to
sit down and savor the experience of eating.
To get started, why not think about one change you would like to make.
You have the power to make next month a whole different experience and it’s right
there on your plate!
PMS symptoms today