Reduce your PMS Symptoms. That statement is music to my ears! As a woman, I have struggled with PMS for years and have done countless hours of research trying to find a solution. I hated that every month I just had to succumb to the fact that I was going to feel awful for a week. Bloating, irritability, anxiety, mood swings, hormonal acne…the list goes on and on. (I also know for a fact my husband dreaded this week too!)
I went to the doctors multiple times asking for help and tried multiple forms of birth control to try to, “balance out my hormones,” and they did NOT work for me. They actually made me feel worse and have more symptoms. I was determined to find a natural solution that worked. Well, after years of research I finally have some answers for how to reduce your PMS symptoms and I am so excited to share them with you!
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Tip #1 Limit Sugar
Sugar is one of those hidden foods that we don’t always think about. It is in EVERYTHING. I recently tried to cut it out for a bit to detox my body and man was it hard! It is snuck into so many different types of food. Why does limiting your sugar intake help PMS? Well, according to the Cleveland Clinic, too much sugar can lead to insulin resistance which will make it even more difficult for your hormones to balance themselves out. Sugar has a strong impact on the hormone, estrogen. When our body is already changing levels of estrogen and progesterone prior to your cycle beginning adding additional sugar into the mix can make it even harder for your body to balance everything out.
How can I reduce sugar in my diet?
Check your labels! The American Heart Association (AHA), says that women should eat no more than 6 teaspoons (30 grams) of sugar a day. With added sugars in everything, those 6 teaspoons can be eaten a lot quicker than you think!
In the mood for a smoothie? Don’t buy one, make one yourself with fresh fruit, kefir, and water. Granola bars? There are so many options to make them yourself. You can even do a no-bake granola bar recipe. Yum!
Tip #2 Increase Calcium
Obstetrics and Gynecology Science published a study in 2017 about the effects of calcium on premenstrual symptoms. They found that increasing calcium in your daily diet can help reduce PMS symptoms that can impact your mood (anxiety/depression).
In order to do this, you can either take a calcium supplement or you can eat calcium-rich foods. Some calcium-rich foods you can try are:
- Cooked dark leafy greens (Broccoli, kale, collard greens)
- Low-fat or Greek yogurt (just check the sugar!)
- Calcium-fortified foods such as oatmeal, cereal, or even orange juice
Tip #3 Magnesium Supplement
This tip has made a HUGE difference for me. It is seriously like night and day for reducing my PMS symptoms. I read an amazing book, “Period Repair Manual Natural Treatment for Better Hormones and Better Periods,” by Lara Briden ND. This book has been beyond helpful. Lara Briden is a naturopathic doctor and she brings a wealth of knowledge on this topic.
In her book, she recommends taking a supplement of magnesium chelate (it is easier on your stomach and digestive system than other versions) to help address your PMS symptoms. After only one cycle not only did I notice a difference but my husband did too! I wasn’t irritable, I wasn’t getting cramps, it was wonderful!
After a little research, a stumbled upon the brand, Nested Naturals. I loved that their ingredients were research-backed, they were third party tested, vegan, and made in a GMP certified facility. This is not a paid ad. I just really loved them! I found Magnesium Glycinate Chelate and it is non-laxative. Win! I take one a day, right after I eat dinner because it is best to take it on a full stomach and the difference in my PMS symptoms is crazy. Don’t believe me? Try it yourself!
Tip #4 Take a Women’s Multi-Vitamin
I never realized how important it was for my body to take a daily women’s multi-vitamin until I started taking it and WOW, did I notice a difference. I always thought that since I try my best to eat healthy and get my nutrients through my food I didn’t need to take any extra supplements. Yikes, was I wrong! Prior to taking a vitamin, I was ALWAYS tired. No matter how much sleep I got, I was waking up tired every morning. Then add on my monthly cycle. I was whooped. My husband recommended trying a vitamin. What could it hurt? So I did research and finally found one I love!
Enter: Ritual! These vitamins are gluten-free, vegan, no added fillers, Non-GMO, and the best part is you can see exactly where all of the ingredients in them are coming from. I love this part because I want to know what I am putting into my body. Ritual has three different lines of vitamins. Essential for Women, Essential for Women 50+, and Essential Prenatal. Every 30 days they come to my house in a subscription format and I don’t even have to go to the store. Plus, they have a yummy mint flavor to help if you have any nausea with taking pills like I sometimes get! You have to try them, trust me!
Tip #5 Don’t Skip Meals
I am guilty of this. I often would and sometimes still do, if I am being honest, skip breakfast. It is so hard for me to get out the door some mornings, the last thing on my mind is breakfast. However, I always feel worse when I skip it so I don’t know why I let myself.
Skipping meals increases some of your PMS symptoms such as fatigue, headache, and irritability due to your blood sugar dropping. Try your best to eat little snacks throughout the day too so you don’t get so hungry that you come home and binge on junk food. (Don’t worry, I am 100% guilty of this too.)
Tip #6 Drink LOTS of Water
How is drinking water going to reduce your PMS symptoms you ask? I know this may sound silly but drinking water will actually help reduce any bloating you may have. How? It helps flush out your system of any excess within your body, especially sodium. Drinking enough water daily has also been shown to help boost your emotional state by helping balance your hormones. After all, don’t forget 60% of the human body is made up of water.
Are you still concerned about how you’re going to get enough water daily? This cool 32 oz. Time Marker Water Bottle will help keep you on track and for those of you who like a competition, it is kind of fun to complete a challenge!
Tip #7 Make Home-Cooked Meals
I know this tip may seem daunting. Especially for those who don’t love to cook. However, once you get into a routine I promise it isn’t as hard as it originally may have seemed. The reason it is so important to eat home-cooked meals more often than eating out is you are able to decide what does and what doesn’t go into your food.
Have you ever looked at the ingredients in your favorite meal out? The main thing that always jumps out at me when I am looking is the amount of sodium. If I am trying to reduce my PMS symptoms, high levels of sodium in my food is the LAST thing I want. This will only lead to me feeling bloated and irritable. Now, trust me I still love a good meal out! However, I am just a little more cognizant nowadays of what I am eating and where I am in my cycle while eating it.
There are SO many delicious meals to try on Pinterest, but if you want you always have the option to try one of the many meal prep subscriptions available. I have never tried one myself however, I have heard many good things about them.
Tip #8 Exercise
Exercise and I have a love/hate relationship. I know it is what is best for me, but if I have the choice of sitting down and reading a book or going for a run. I am most likely going to choose the book 9 times out of 10. However, I do know the importance of exercise for your mind and body, especially when you are trying to reduce your PMS symptoms. So during this time, I try to do little things to stay active. Go for a walk with my daughter, vacuum, do yoga, hike on my favorite trail, anything to get my heart pumping some because I always feel better after it!
Tip #9 Self Care
Self-care can come in so many different forms. For some it may be having a spa day, for others, it may be having 15 minutes to yourself to put a face mask on and actually get to use the bathroom by yourself! Whatever self-care is for you, I encourage you to try your best to do it! It is especially important during your monthly cycle because your body has so many changes going on, it needs a little lovin’.
I am someone who doesn’t always get a ton of time for myself so when I have a chance I like to pamper myself a bit. Sometimes it’s with a face mask, other times it’s just putting on a serum and some chapstick! My go-to brand lately is 100% Pure Cosmetics“>Pure Cosmetics. I absolutely love everything they have. They make all of their products with natural ingredients and they are pure without ANY toxic ingredients.
They have a new acne line that is perfect for me because, during my monthly cycle, the acne struggle is real. Their products are amazing!
Tip #10 Experiment with Essential Oils
I have really just recently started getting into essential oils and I can’t wait to keep learning more about them. The wonderful thing about essential oils is that they can be used for so many different things and in so many ways. I started with just diffusing them and have started making my own beauty blends and cleaning products! I started to get into them when I was trying to reduce my PMS symptoms. My hormonal acne made me feel down, my depression led to anxiety, my anxiety led to headaches and stomachaches, and it continued to spiral.
There are so many amazing oils out there. However, for my emotional PMS symptoms (anxiety/depression/irritability) some of the ones that I have found work best for me are lavender, rose, clary sage, ylang-ylang, and bergamot.
One of the best resources I have found to help me navigate through the world of essential oils is the Essential Oils Pocket Reference: 8th Edition. There are so many wonderful components of this book and I have learned so much from it. It is not a book you will read once. I find myself referring to it almost daily. I absolutely love it!
My Next Step
My journey of PMS is going to be a never-ending adventure, and I am okay with that! Our bodies are constantly changing and adapting to the world around us. The best we can do is to use the knowledge and resources we have available to help us to feel the best we can. My next step is to continue to learn and challenge myself to try new things that could ultimately help me to reach my goal of being the best version of myself I can be!