Countless women suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) with symptoms that occur before a woman’s period, and can include severe cramps and headaches, moodiness, anxiety, and depression. For some, the symptoms can be so severe they become debilitating. (Here’s how to use acupressure to fight PMS symptoms.)
While you might be tempted to reach for pills when PMS flares up, research suggests that eating certain foods can help with many PMS symptoms. Here are six foods to reach for next time PMS has you down.
Do you find yourself struggling to keep a positive mood during your period? Peanuts and peanut butter are very important for your toolkit. Peanuts are high in vitamin B6 and magnesium. Magnesium helps to improve your mood by regulating serotonin, a natural mood stabilizer that helps fight depression. In addition to helping with serotonin production, vitamin B6 also helps your body produce melatonin—a hormone that helps in regulating your body’s sleep functions. Increasing your intake of magnesium, calcium, and vitamin B6 can all help reduce or stop cramping. (And you’ll want to stay away from these 5 foods that could be making your depression worse.)
Pork and beans
If you suffer from PMS induced acne, try eating more spinach. This leafy green offers high levels of vitamin A, which helps fight acne, dry skin, and helps with protection from UV rays. Because spinach is also a great source of calcium,it reduces PMS symptoms like headaches, cramping, moodiness, and food cravings by half. (Here are 20 more great vegan sources of calcium.)
If you crave dark chocolate leading up to your period, go for it. Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants to increase circulation and lower blood pressure, and it’s also packed with magnesium, which helps with fatigue and irritability. (Here are 7 more legitimate health benefits of dark chocolate.)
Some women suffer from cramps as early as two days before their period. Try adding a banana or two to your diet on those days—bananas are also high in potassium, which does wonders to fight cramps. (Here are 13 more potassium-rich foods.)