Researchers have long known that the foods you eat during your premenstrual cycle can influence PMS, but with recent studies they now have a better idea of what foods will alleviate the symptoms of PMS, and here are the top eight best foods to even out those mood swings.
Studies have revealed taking double the amount of calcium found in the typical American diet, can relieve menstrual pain, water retention and mood swings, especially when taken with magnesium. It’s common for women to crave carbohydrates during the premenstrual phase of their monthly cycle. A study done at MIT and a British study both show that consuming carbohydrates every few hours during this phase of the menstrual cycle makes a significant difference in combating PMS mood swings, as well as other symptoms.
The Top 8 Foods For Alleviating PMS Mood Swings:
- Greens: such as kale, bok choy and collard greens are very high in calcium. They can be used in a stir-fry, steamed, or finely chopped and added to salads, or freshly squeezed juice.
- Sesame seeds: are very high in both calcium and magnesium. They can be lightly toasted and sprinkled over salads, stir-fries, and steamed vegetables. Ground sesame paste, known as tahini is delicious in salad dressings, hummus, and as a spread or dip. Adding a couple tablespoons of tahini to smoothies gives them a rich, creamy texture.
- Milk and dairy products: it’s not surprising that dairy products top the list of food sources of calcium. Whole milk, fruit yogurt and cheese are all good sources of calcium. With Edam cheese having the most calcium per weight, followed closely by Cheddar cheese.
- Steamed tofu: is high in calcium and omega 3 fatty acids. It’s delicious added to soup or broth, or eaten on it’s own with a dash of shoyu (soy sauce).
- Sardines in oil: are high in calcium and magnesium, and extremely high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The healthiest sardines are the ones packed in their own oil, which helps your body to absorb the calcium, but they can be hard to find. The second best choice is those packed in olive oil. Avoid sardines packed in vegetable oil, it’s highly processed and high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. You may also be able to find sardines packed in tomato sauce, which is also preferable to vegetable oil. Sardines make a great food to travel with, or to keep at the office because they come in convenient tins that are easy to store.
- Dried figs: are high in calcium and magnesium, as well as fiber. They are great as a snack to stave off sugar cravings. Or serve them on fruit and cheese platters, along with bread and crackers as a complete PMS-busting appetizer.
- Swiss muesli: can be bought ready-made, but it’s also quick and easy to make your own, adding your favorite ingredients in the amounts you like. Serve with yogurt or milk. You can make it up the night before, add the yogurt or milk and leave it to sit overnight to soften the oats, nuts and dried fruit if you prefer a creamier, softer texture. In wintertime, or any time you want something warmer, add a couple handfuls of muesli to a wide-mouth thermos. Then add enough boiling water to cover. You may want to add extra hot water if you want a porridge-like consistency. Leave overnight, the muesli will still be warm in the morning just add milk or yogurt to taste.
- Carbohydrates: studies have found that eating carbohydrates every 3 hours during the premenstrual cycle can significantly improve mood. Carbohydrates include the starchy carbs such as bread, pasta, potatoes, oats, rice. One study on the effects of carbohydrates on PMS symptoms included sweet carbs in addition to the starchy carbohydrates. It found that all the carbohydrates, including desserts, candy and chocolate, helped women to recover from PMS symptoms within an hour of consuming the carbohydrates.
If you are vegan, a good way to get many of these foods in your diet quickly and easily is to drink a green smoothie every day. I like to have mine first thing in the morning. Use one of the smoothie recipes on this site and add greens, dried figs for sweetness (soak them first, you can soak overnight and put the water and figs into the smoothie) and ground raw sesame seeds (a coffee grinder works well to grind the seeds) will make your smoothie thicker and creamier. Swiss muesli can be made with nut milk instead of dairy milk, especially sesame seed milk.
So during the premenstrual phase of your next monthly cycle, try catering to your carbohydrate and sweet cravings, eat ample amounts of the high-calcium foods and see if it doesn’t help with your mood swings and make life a little easier for you and everyone around you.