We’ve all been there: tired, curled up with a heating pad, digging into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. For a while now I’ve been preoccupied with reading about what foods in particular are good for PMS. In other words, what foods help to alleviate the unpleasant symptoms of PMS, such as cramps, bloating, and irritability. In my research, I discovered that if you’re craving junk food, your body is actually calling out for something much healthier than ice cream, brownies, or cookie dough. Surprise!
Sitting in line at Dunkin’ or McDonald’s, I’ve used the excuse, “Well, I have PMS, so I deserve this” quite a bit, and I realize that’s not a good thing. When your body is preparing to menstruate, it’s especially important to put yummy but also wholesome foods in your belly. Gorging on potato chips and chocolate is just going to exacerbate your symptoms and make you feel even fatter, lazier, and yuckier in general. I like to do anything I can to make women’s lives easier, so I’ve gathered a short list of period-friendly foods that can be introduced into our diets that are actually good for us, especially when we’re pre-menstrual.
I tried this “PMS-soothing smoothie” from PopSugar, and I wasn’t crazy about it. I just can’t do smoothies…I think it’s the consistency that turns me off. But maybe some of you might enjoy it. I like spinach, but I’d rather find it in my pasta than pureed in a glass. Try this tasty recipe I found on Pinterest–my favorite place online for all things that are good, yummy, and pretty. I crisped some prosciutto in the oven (350 degrees for 13 minutes) and sprinkled it on top. Loverly.
I typically want pizza and milkshakes when it’s that time for me. If you find yourself wanting candy or carbs, go for stuff like fruit, nuts, or fish.
Bananas are great for PMS since they’re so rich in potassium. Other foods that help with the horrid bloating are yogurt (eat Greek yogurt every day to prevent yeast infections!), ginger, and–wait for it–water! I like to remind people that water is our mother and also the secret (not so secret) to great skin. Lots of people tend to guzzle soda and then wonder why they feel like shit.
Kale is a super food for a reason. Ever try kale chips? If not, it’s only three ingredients, and it’s de-lish. This super duper veggie is great for PMS because it’s loaded with iron and magnesium, which help to tame the PMS monster.
Quinoa is a great option–a whole grain that actually tastes great! I’ve tried eating whole grain bread, and I just can’t do it, which is why quinoa is like a superhero in the food world. It’s also rich in iron, which your body craves during this time.
Salmon is a no-brainer and should be incorporated into anyone’s diet at any time, uterus or no uterus. I like to season and grill mine on the stovetop and then add it to a nice, hot bowl of miso soup. I’ve also been on a tuna tataki sashimi kick lately–very much worth the $11.99 Wegman’s charges. Fish offers those great omega-3 fatty acids that are fantastic for the heart. And yes, we need fats–good fats–in our diets!
In addition to eating well, try some yoga poses especially useful for alleviating cramping and menstrual discomfort. I generally lean against a wall with my palms flat; this position makes it feel like my uterus is “hanging” forward, which feels nice.
I also just began taking probiotics, and I feel noticeably better. Also, try picking up a bottle of Evening Primrose Oil–I get the generic kind from Target, but Amazon carries it too, along with everything else under the sun. This magical women’s supplement helps with PMS symptoms and also improves the condition of hair, skin, and nails. I highly recommend EP oil; I’ve noticed a huge difference in my cramps, hair breakage, and complexion.
I hope this brief list sheds some light on some options we all have during PMS and also during menstruation. It feels good to be kind to your body.
Be well and have a restful period.