Pre-menstrual Syndrome, or ‘PMS’ as it is more commonly known, is a disorder that many women may be familiar with on a month-to-month basis. It can be characterised by signs and symptoms that occur leading up to and during the menstrual cycle, which may include-
- Mood swings
- Fluid retention
- Breast tenderness
- Food cravings
- Menstrual cramping
There are four main types of PMS, which come under the following categories. This is to be used as a guideline only, as there is usually more than one set of symptoms experienced by most women.
PMS A- ‘A’ is for anxiety, irritability, mood swings and hypersensitivity
PMS C- ‘C’ is for carbohydrate cravings and blood sugar imbalances
PMS D- ‘D’ is for feelings of depression and low mood
PMD H- ‘H’ is for hydration, expressing symptoms such as fluid retention, bloating and breast tenderness (1)
The following tips for PMS are generalised and are suitable for all types of PMS disorders. Please note that severe hormonal imbalances may need to be rectified with the use of additional supplementation.
- Caffeine and other stimulants
- Excess salt
- Refined sugars
- Fried foods and trans fats found in margarine and baked goods
- Adequate water (1.5-2 litres daily for most people)
- Gentle exercise such as walking or yoga
- Phytoestrogen rich foods to balance hormones. E.g. Soy beans, chickpeas, flaxseed, alfalfa sprouts
- Meals and snacks based on protein and complex carbohydrates to balance blood sugar levels. E.g. Porridge and soy milk, Green salads with chickpeas, Dahl and brown rice, Hommus and brown rice crackers
- Magnesium rich foods to balance excess fluids and relieve cramping. E.g. Quinoa, oats, green leafy vegetables, banana, nuts and seeds
- Stress management tools such as meditation and deep breathing exercises
- Cruciferous vegetables to promote the metabolism of hormones via the liver E.g. Kale, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage
- Fibre to promote the removal of hormones via the large intestine. E.g. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds
Are you after a snack or breakfast idea to help ease the perils of PMS? Look no further than the PMS Smoothie in the week prior to and during your menstrual cycle. It contains phytoestrogens, protein and fibre and is packed with nutrients to assist hormonal balance, mood and blood sugar control around ‘that time of the month’. And it has just enough of cacao to satisfy a chocolate craving.
PMS (Pea/Maca/Soy) Smoothie
1½-2 cups Sugar-free soy milk (such as Australia’s Own Malt-free soy)
1 tsp Organic maca powder
2 TBS Pea protein (I use Vital protein)
1 TBS Organic chia seeds
1 Organic banana
2 tsp Raw organic and fairtraded cacao powder (Power superfoods brand)
Ice cubes (optional)
1 Medjool date (optional)
Place in a high-speed blender and process on ‘high’ until smooth.
N.B: Cacao does contain a small amount of caffeine, which you can omit and swap for carob powder if desired.
1. Sarris, J, Wardle, J (2010) Clinical naturopathy, Churchhill Livingstone, Australia. Page 350.
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