Updated: Jan 7, 2020
Low energy levels, cravings and cramps killing your progress every month?
Check out our PMS survival guide!
Do you struggle with low energy levels, cravings and cramps during that time of the month? You are not alone!
These are the most common symptoms women report when dealing with PMS, and it's totally normal.
There are major hormonal fluctuations going on, which cause the estrogen and progesterone in our bodies to plummet.
Mix that with water retention, bloating, and disturbed sleep patterns, it's understandable why you feel tired!
Cortisol, the stress hormone, is also released during this time and that can cause those killer cravings we know all too well.
What Causes PMS?
The exact cause is unknown, but it appears to be fluctuating hormone levels. Some other causes are:
• Chemical changes in the brain
• Lack of exercise
• Low vitamin and mineral levels
• Depression or anxiety
• Poor diet, including processed foods
• Consuming alcohol and caffeine, which may alter mood and energy level
• Eating too many salty foods, which can cause fluid retention and bloating
So how do we deal with the PMS monster every month without sabotaging our diet? How do we stick to our healthy plan when all we want to do is stuff our face with chocolate and then go to sleep?
Luckily, there are many natural remedies you can try to manage or even eliminate these nasty symptoms. What we put in our bodies can literally heal us, or make our problems worse. Below I will list some of the best foods to eat and natural remedies that help keep symptoms at bay, as well as some foods to AVOID, as they only make things worse.
Women who experience PMS symptoms are usually not getting enough magnesium, calcium, B vitamins (especially B6) and vitamins K and E, among other nutrients from their diets. When you don’t consume enough of these essential nutrients, your body will demand them by intensifying your PMS symptoms.
BEST FOODS TO EAT
- Plant based foods: Studies have shown that women with plant-based diets high in vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and herbs have fewer symptoms of PMS.
- Flaxseed: Helps promote healthy estrogen metabolism.
- Wild-caught fish: Foods high in Omega-3 fats will help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Green leafy vegetables: A great source of calcium, vitamin K and magnesium, which can reduce menstrual cramps. Kale, spinach and romaine will help fight hormonal acne with their vitamin A.
- Calcium-rich foods: Kale, broccoli, yogurt, raw milk, cheese and almonds are some great options
- High fiber foods: PMS can cause GI disturbances, which is why it’s important to get at least 30g of fiber daily. Try some berries, peas, broccoli, artichokes, black beans, brussels sprouts, quinoa, lentils, nuts, oats, chia seeds and more.
- Avocado: Eating a half or full avocado daily can naturally balance hormones because it includes healthy fat, fiber, magnesium and potassium.
- Dark Chocolate: You're already craving chocolate, so indulge with a square or 2 of the good-for-you stuff!
- Wheat germ: Rich in E and B vitamins. Other vitamin E-rich foods include almonds, sunflower seeds and spinach.
- Water: Make sure you're drinking 8 glasses of water a day, at least. This will help keep you feeling full, hydrated and less bloated.
- Bananas: You need your sleep during this time of the month, and bananas contain melatonin—a sleep-aid hormone that's secreted at night and helps regulate our body's natural rhythms. Try a banana close to bedtime.
- Lean Beef, Turkey, and Chicken: Vitamin B12, found in lean meats, provides energy to fight that sluggish feeling. Plus, the protein in meat will help you stay alert and full, fighting off those cravings.
- Pumpkin seeds: Their magnesium can help relieve headaches by relaxing blood vessels.
- Healthy fats: Fats like coconut oil, real butter, olive oil, and foods high in omega-3 fats like wild-caught fish
- Complex carbs: Whole-grain bread, sweet potatoes, fruits, vegetables, and beans
- Tea: Try Chai Tea to restore energy levels
- Get your zinc: Oysters, spinach, summer squash, asparagus, collard green and pumpkin seeds
BONUS: 2 RECIPES TO CONQUER PMS
1. Energy Omelet: Start your day off with a breakfast that is rich in protein and healthy fats. An energy omelet will help you start off your day right so you feel satisfied and energized. Scramble one whole egg with two egg whites, a half a cup of cottage cheese and two ounces of turkey. You'll be so full of satisfying and nutrient-dense deliciousness that you can fight off any craving.
2. Power Salad: A salad full of dark, leafy greens with feta cheese and a sliced up avocado is the ultimate recipe for reducing PMS symptoms, all the the symptom-fighting nutrients in one meal.
FOODS TO AVOID: These foods can trigger or aggravate PMS symptoms
- High fructose corn syrup & refined sugar: Causes fluctuations in blood sugar that may make mood swings worse, cause headaches, or make it difficult to concentrate. It can also deplete the body of critical minerals and cause inflammation. So stay away from the baked goods, doughnuts, soda, candy, cookies, ice cream, etc.
- Alcohol: Makes PMS symptoms worse and may increase cramping
- Caffeine: Can worsen depression, anxiety, and breast tenderness.
- Trans fats and hydrogenated fats: Processed foods commonly contain these ingredients. Read labels and avoid anything that says “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated,” even if it says 0% trans fat.
- Salt: Water retention during your period may be made worse by consuming a diet high in sodium. So, no chips, pretzels or frozen dinners.
- Any potential food allergen: You can try an elimination diet to get an idea of potential food allergies and intolerances. You can also ask your doctor to perform tests. Be cautious with dairy and red meat.
- Certain Fats: Fats like Vegetable oil, peanut oil, canola oil, soybean oil, margarine, shortening or other chemically altered fats.
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Essential oils for PMS
- Eucalyptus: The oil is an immune stimulant, pain reliever and anti-inflammatory agent.
- Lavender: This oil can relive stress, anxiety and aches and pain.
- Clary sage: Relieves anxiety, treats insomnia and can reduce cramps.
- Ylang-Ylang: Can reduce high blood pressure and PMS related skin conditions like acne.
Lifestyle tips to fight the fatigue:
If you feel like your tiredness is only during your time of the month, it is most likely PMS related. Try these tips to combat the sleepiness:
- Food: Eat small frequent meals throughout the day, making sure to get plenty of protein, especially at breakfast. This will help stay on top of your hunger and cravings as well as maintain your energy levels throughout the day. Cut out all dairy and consider eliminating other common allergens for a few months, especially gluten.
- Sleep: Try to prioritize sleep, and get 8 hours a night during your period. Go to bed at the same time every night and avoid caffeine after 3pm.
- Exercise: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has officially named exercise as a treatment for PMS symptoms. During the week leading up to your period, bump up your workouts. It can relieve menstrual cramps and improve your mood, as well as boost your energy. During the week of your period, you don't have to do anything intense if you're not up for it, but make sure you are getting in at least a walk or a jog every day, or do some lighter activity like yoga, pilates or swimming.
- Heat and Relaxation: Before bed, try taking a warm epsom salt bath. This will help you sleep better through the night and wake up feeling more energized and rested. (it will also help your menstrual cramps, bonus!) Dealing with stress is also critical. Get a massage, try yoga, learn deep breathing or meditation. These techniques and others can help balance hormones.
If you incorporate these food and lifestyle changes into your life around your time of the month, you will most certainly notice a great reduction in symptoms. Don't let PMS take over and sabotage all your hard work in the gym and the kitchen. Stick to your diet and reach your goals with this survival guide!
Before you go......
Hang out with other women who deal with the same struggles as we all support and encourage one another on our health and fitness journeys! Join the private Facebook group, Fit Chicks Members Club! You can also tag me in the group and ask me anything, anytime! It's like having your own on-call personal trainer 24-7! Plus, our community is amazing, always positive and uplifting!
REQUEST TO JOIN >>>>>>>>> CLICK HERE!
Your Trainer, Leia