Portneuf Health Partners

November 30th, 2017

Premenstrual Syndrome and Diet

By Amy Kramer, MPH, RD, LD

a woman running in the sunsetThere are some things that cannot be controlled: Idaho’s weather, bad drivers, poor customer service…and the list goes on. However, I wonder, should we add Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) to the list…or leave it off?

Not all women who are affected by PMS experience the same symptoms, yet research shows positive support between diet and the reduction of negative symptoms associated with PMS. It is believed that well over half of all women experience PMS symptoms, and a staggering 85% of women, between their teenage and childbearing years, will experience PMS. Symptoms can include but are not limited to:

  • Headaches
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Weight gain
  • Depression and anxiety; mood swings
  • Tender breasts
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating and/or swelling

Your doctor or health-care provider can assist you in diagnosing PMS. For those who suffer, it is beneficial to keep a diary or log to identify symptoms and triggers. It too is important to know that an individual’s physical activity, as well as diet/food choices, may lessen or exacerbate symptoms.

To overcome some of the undesirable symptoms, here are a few strategies and dietary tips:

  • Engage in physical activity: this includes activities of moderate-intensity and resistance training. While it might sound like the least enjoyable thing to do, these activities can release endorphins resulting in a more positive mood.
  • Mix it up: eat a variety of foods from the MyPlate food groups. Choose foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, as well as those that are iron-rich, high-fiber and low-fat dairy options.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine.
  • Reduce the consumption of foods or beverages with salt, solid fats and added sugar.

For ideas on recommended food/food groups please visit www.choosemyplate.gov