This guest post comes to us from Nicole, a women’s holistic health coach and the creator of Fix Your Period, a series of private and group programs that empower women to heal their menstrual conditions in a sassy and fun way. Join us Wednesday, February 20th, at 11 am PST/2 pm EST for a live Q&A session with Nicole on our Facebook page. Nicole will be answering your questions about diet, hormones, and health, to help you learn to love your period!
I used to be that girl who dreaded the week before my period AND my period. It would begin with the ridiculous sugar cravings (yes the kind where eating a whole chocolate cake would be just fine), then the bloating would start (probably because of the whole chocolate cake), soon after I’d morph into someone I didn’t recognize and it would all culminate in the worst cramps ever (think the kind of cramps that make you throw up and want to pass out). Then I’d finally get my period! That was my life for many years and I felt like I had no control over my body or what was happening to it every month. Approximately 80% of women struggle with similar issues every single month so I’m sure you can relate.
Eventually I figured out that I do have control – I have control over the food that I eat and how I live my life. Who knew!? I have learned over the years that every bite you take counts when it comes to how your body functions and how you want to feel physically and emotionally. Yes, food affects you emotionally. I have also learned that the main cause of PMS symptoms is an underlying hormonal imbalance in which your estrogen levels increase while your progesterone levels stay the same or decrease. This is known as Estrogen Dominance and it is very prevalent in younger women. The good news is its totally treatable by changing the food that you eat!
Check out my top three foods for combatting those dreaded PMS symptoms:
1. Dark leafy greens:
I’m sure you hear about them often but the term “dark leafy greens” might seem a little ambiguous. For instance, I used to go into Whole Foods and stare at the vast selection of green vegetables wondering what I could possibly do with any of them. Eventually I’d give up and walk out defeated and empty-handed. Then I did a little research and discovered that there are so many ways to cook and
Leafy greens have three crucial nutrients your body needs to eliminate PMS symptoms: calcium, magnesium and the B vitamins. Calcium combats bloating and helps regulate brain chemicals that affect our mood. Magnesium is a muscle relaxant and therefore helps the uterine muscles relax, reducing or eliminating menstrual cramps. B vitamins, in particular B6, increase the rate at which the liver de-activates excess estrogen and sends it to the colon for removal.eat them. My favorites are kale, swiss chard, spinach and beet greens.
2. Complex carbohydrates:
Brown rice, quinoa and sweet potatoes are my absolute favorites. Complex carbohydrates provide sustained and high-quality energy because the body digests them slowly. Their high fiber content regulates blood sugar and gets the bowels moving! As I mentioned above, once your liver de-activates excess estrogen, it is sent to the colon for removal. So, in order to actually excrete the excess estrogen from your body you need to have enough fiber to move it on out. Otherwise, the estrogen will get reabsorbed back into your blood, even after your liver has tried to remove it. As you can imagine, this is no good.
FYI: carbohydrates such as white rice and white bread don’t count! Once eaten, they act the same as a chocolate bar, spiking and then crashing your blood sugar soon after. This will worsen the symptoms of a hormonal imbalance – namely that crazy-girl behavior that is so prevalent during PMS time.
3. Foods with Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
There has been lots of talk in recent years about Omega-3’s, and for good reason. Without getting too scientific, I’ll say that Omega-3 fatty acids suppress the production of inflammation-causing compounds in the body, thus reducing conditions caused by inflammation.
Scientists have found a correlation between low omega-3 concentrations in the blood and increased menstrual cramps, breast tenderness, nausea, headaches and depression. Hello, awesome! The fish that are highest in omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, sardines and tuna. For those of you who don’t eat seafood or don’t have access to it I recommend eating lots of avocados, walnuts and chia seeds and/or taking a daily fish oil supplement that provides 1000mg of Omega-3’s.
Okay, that about sums up the very best foods you should be eating all month long to reduce or eliminate your PMS symptoms. Remember, you don’t have to continue to suffer. The truth is that suffering every month is completely unnecessary and you have the power to change it!
Nicole Jardim is a women’s holistic health coach and founder of The Healthy Elements, where she helps women fix their periods one hormone at a time.