Premenstrual syndrome affects most women at some point in their lives. Almost all of us have dealt with that tired, bloated feeling, breast tenderness, cramps, and mood swings. The good news is that many of these problems can be alleviated with simple lifestyle changes.
Changing your diet is the number one way to alleviate PMS symptoms.
- Get enough of the following essential nutrients: calcium, potassium, Vitamin B 6, Vitamin D, and Omega 3 fatty acids. The best way to get these nutrients is from a healthy, balanced diet, but if this is not possible for some reason, a high-quality vitamin supplement is acceptable.
- Avoid caffeine, as it can make you jittery and cause mood problems.
- Avoid alcohol. It is a depressant and does not help improve mood.
- Avoid simple sugars. Choose complex carbohydrates and whole grains instead. Simple sugars digest quickly and cause a spike in blood sugar, which then results in a "crash," leaving you feeling tired and irritated.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid salty snacks, as excess sodium can lead to bloating.
Exercise regularly all month and your PMS symptoms will be less severe. 30 minutes, 3 times per week is the recommended minimum. Often, mild exercise during your period will help alleviate cramps. Take a short walk or bike ride.
Many women also find that yoga can help them relax and alleviate their symptoms.
Sleep is extremely important to good health. Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. In addition to helping reduce fatigue and irritability, enough sleep will keep you more alert during the day and allow you to focus on your tasks more effectively. Research also shows that people who get enough sleep tend to weigh less than those who don't.
You know that smoking is bad for your lungs, but did you know it can hurt your ovaries, too? Studies show that nicotine (the addictive substance in cigarettes) can cause severe damage to ovaries. Smoking also causes abnormalities in the menstrual cycle and can even cause estrogen production to decrease, which leads to mood swings. Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to improve your general health and well-being.
Excess stress can lead to increased PMS symptoms. If you are able to reduce stress in certain areas of your life, you may find that your PMS symptoms become less severe. If you cannot eliminate the sources of stress, you may be able to develop ways to deal with stress more effectively. Try the following strategies to help relieve stress:
- Breathing exercises
- Take a warm bath
- Start a new hobby that you find fun and relaxing
- Try aromatherapy lotions or oils
- Try yoga or other stretching exercises
Some herbs, specifically chasteberry, have been shown to improve PMS symptoms significantly in many women. Look for a high-quality supplement from a reputable company.
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