It’s that monthly companion that we just can’t seem to shake, the uninvited friend to the party, or the reason we suddenly understand why we snapped at our partner over the missing jar of peanut butter in the cupboard: PMS.
PMS can make us feel not completely ourselves.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to feel like yourself again, such as eating the right foods to combat your PMS symptoms.
Here are our favorite nutrient-rich foods that can help make a difference:
- Ground Sesame Seeds: Because PMS is caused by a drop in estrogen and progesterone levels, it’s thought that eating foods that support those hormone levels can help relieve PMS symptoms. Sesame seeds can help keep estrogen and progesterone levels more balanced during the second phase of your cycle when PMS occurs. Sesame seeds also are packed with other PMS-friendly nutrients, such as vitamin E, iron, zinc, lignans, selenium, calcium, and manganese. Try sprinkling sesame seeds on stir-fry, as a taco topping, or ground in a sauce.
- Ground Sunflower Seeds: Sunflower seeds contain the same lignans as sesame seeds, so they’re great for balancing hormone levels, but they’re also rich in calcium, a nutrient recommended to help with PMS symptoms of fatigue, depression, and cravings. In fact, just one serving of sunflower seeds contains a whopping 109 milligrams of calcium. You can eat sunflower seeds as a snack on their own or mixed in smoothies, spread with nut butter on a whole-grain piece of bread or as a topping with fruit.
- Leafy Greens: Greens such as kale and spinach are rich in magnesium, which supports hormone production and balances out the stress response in the body, as well as Vitamin B6, which helps get serotonin and dopamine–the “happy” hormones–where they need to go in the body. For a PMS-blasting superfood, mix up a smoothie with sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and a generous handful of leafy greens.
- Seafood: Many different kinds of seafood can be helpful to eat before and during PMS. For instance, shellfish contains selenium, which helps support progesterone production during the luteal phase. Other kinds of fish, including sardines and salmon, are also rich in Vitamin B6 and Omega-3s, which help cut down on inflammation. (Bye, bloated stomach!)
- Water: Sure, it might sound boring, but staying hydrated is extra important if you suffer from PMS. If you can swap out your daily caffeine and nightly glass of wine for water instead, even better. Water will help balance your hormones, fight bloating, and keep your digestive system–which can also be affected by your period–happier.
- Dark Chocolate: Would it even be a post about PMS if we didn’t talk about chocolate? Don’t be afraid to indulge in an ounce or two of dark chocolate when you’re battling PMS–not only is it delicious, but thanks to the fact that it contains plenty of antioxidants and magnesium to decrease cramping and bloating, it’s also a secret weapon against your symptoms.
- Nuts: Noshing on nuts can be an effective strategy for banishing PMS. Reach for magnesium-rich almonds, selenium-containing Brazil nuts, and walnuts that are full of Omega 3s. Omega 3s and 6s have been shown to reduce PMS symptoms and cramps.
- Eggs: Eggs contain both Vitamin B6 and selenium, so they’ll help balance hormones and support your mood. Plus, they’re full of protein, so they can help keep you full and banish cravings for those salty, fried foods that will only make you feel worse.
Combined with an overall nutrient-dense diet, proper sleep, movement, and stress management, these foods can help to reduce PMS.
Try our Beeya seed cycling blend, which includes both sesame and sunflower seeds to support your overall health and your menstrual health.