Premenstrual syndrome symptoms: The top foods to eat to ease PMS


Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is the name for a group of symptoms experienced by women in the weeks leading up to their periods. While only a fraction of menstruating women experience unbearable PMS, 90 percent of women say they get some form of PMS. Do you know what symptoms are linked with your period? chatted to the menstrual experts at Lunette to find out the main symptoms of PMS and the top foods to eat to combat these individual symptoms.

Premenstrual syndrome symptoms – what to eat to treat them


Insomnia means you regularly have problems sleeping, and women with PMS are twice as likely to experience insomnia before and during their period.

To make matters worse, not getting enough sleep can make you more susceptible to pain.

Your diet can help you fall asleep easier, especially if you avoid eating big meals close to bedtime.

Lunette’s experts recommended eating foods containing melatonin, such as cherries, bananas, apples and mango after dinner.

They explained: “Darkness naturally causes your body to produce melatonin helping you maintain healthy sleep-wake cycles.

“A study by Douglas Mental Health University recently found that low melatonin levels can make PMS symptoms worse, especially insomnia.”

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Low mood

Do you get a bit cranky or anxious just before your period? You’re not alone, PMS might be the cause.

Besides exercising, getting enough fresh air and sleeping for eight hours a night, your diet can improve your mood.

The experts said: “This could be as simple as boosting your intake of complex carbohydrates and Omega-3.

“Complex carbs, like oats, brown rice, sweet potatoes and chickpeas are magic mood boosters.

“They’re packed with protein, B-vitamins, magnesium, iron, calcium and potassium – essential nutrients that encourage the production of feel-good hormones.

“They also give your brain a steady stream of glucose which helps you maintain peak energy levels throughout the day, decreasing your cravings for sweet things.

“And then we have Omega-3 – a fatty acid that functions similarly to antidepressants giving you a sweet dose of serotonin (that’s a happiness hormone!) It can be found in fish, nuts, seeds, plant oils and soybeans.”


Bloating isn’t just a source of embarrassment for many women around their periods, it can be really uncomfortable, painful and lead to nausea.

The last thing you want to do when your belly inflates like a balloon is eat, but there are certain foods and beverages that you can consume to help you banish the bloat (and it’s important to eat to nourish your body and fuel yourself with energy).

The period experts said: “Your first line of defence is avoiding gassy foods like peas, beans, dairy products and fizzy drinks since they can contribute to a swollen abdomen.

“To get fast relief, boil some ginger in a pan of water to make a hot drink (ginger is anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic) or brew a soothing cup of peppermint tea.

“Food-wise, asparagus and yoghurt are full of beneficial bacteria that aid digestion.

“Pineapple is great for bloating too as it contains bromelain, a digestion-promoting enzyme.

“Sometimes bloating is caused by water retention. If that’s the case, add some celery and fennel to your dishes as they are natural diuretics that can help flush out the excess water you’re retaining.”

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If you’re someone who overeats and binges on junk food during their period as a result of cravings, you need to eat more filling foods.

The experts said: “Keep your cravings at bay by eating a breakfast rich in protein and healthy fats.

“Even if you’re not someone who wants to eat a big meal first thing in the morning, starting the day with a good breakfast will help you feel full for longer and abolish those pesky cravings for sweet things.

“Think eggs, nuts, oats, avocado, fish and tofu. Once you’ve made a delicious breakfast out of these ingredients, you’ll never look back.”


The low oestrogen associated with PMS can lead to headaches.

While there’s not much you can do about fluctuating hormones, you can conquer your menstrual migraines by adding some headache-fighting foods to your diet.

The experts said: “Try eating foods rich in magnesium (a nutrient that 75 percent of Americans aren’t getting enough of!) because a magnesium deficiency makes you much more susceptible to headaches, especially around the time of your period.

“Beans, bananas, nuts, dark chocolate and leafy greens are all groovy sources of magnesium.

“Whether you chow down on some cashews (they contain 83 mg of magnesium per 1 oz) or whip up a scrumptious dessert with dark chocolate (95 mg per square!), your brain will love you.”


Cramps are the most notorious PMS symptom, and the best thing for cramps is rest and a hot water bottle.

To keep cramps at bay, try to eat foods rich in magnesium.

The Lunette team said: “Dark chocolate is especially soothing, not only because chocolate is a type of comfort food, but also because dark chocolate contains lots of magnesium which is a natural cramp buster.

“Omega 3-rich foods like salmon and flaxseed also work wonders on period pain as anti-inflammatories and studies show that people who consume lots of Omega 3 have milder cramps.”


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