Managing premenstrual syndrome with your diet

Premenstrual syndrome or PMS produces physical and mental changes, which typically begin, from two to seven days before the onset of the menstruation and is usually cleared as soon as the period starts.

It is frustrating not only for the individual and also person around her. Careful attention to diet and exercise can certainly reduce these problems associated with menstruation to some extent. Women over 30 years of age are usually suffered from this pre menstrual syndrome. They feel miserable few days before menstruation.

They usually get backache, cramps, headache, tenderness of the breast and also feel bloated. They may find their clothes don’t fit them. Irrational behavior ladies suffer during these days like they cry for no reason and becoming very moody not only spoil their day but some time even spoil the family atmosphere. They become irritable, nervous and have poor concentration. Some crave for sweets and some may crave for highly salted which make them retain more water and thus further increase in the weight.

Premenstrual syndrome is related to the production of female hormone oestrogen and progesterone, which controls the monthly cycle. Around 50 – 80 percent of the women under go these mood swings, emotional and irrational behavior in varied severity.

Measures to Control Symptoms

In PMS, symptoms can be controlled to some extent by the dietary manipulation. Studies suggest that a diet high in carbohydrate and low in fat is helpful. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) dietary supplementation will help patients of PMS to counter premenstrual depression, lethargy and even water retention which is characterized by a bloating, breast tenderness and swelling of fingers, toes and face. Cutting down on salt can help to reduce water retention.

Foods rich in vitamin B6 are fish, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables. Vitamin E rich wheat germ will help to reduce the breast tenderness. The mineral calcium can reduce the menstrual pain and the premenstrual tension. It should be supplied through the food. Milk, curd, paneer, fenugreek leaves, drumstick leaves, ragi are the rich sources of calcium. Evening prime rose oil is very effective in the treatment of pain and discomfort related to PMS.

Regular walking, abdominal and pelvic exercises noticed to have helpful effects on reducing the premenstrual syndrome symptoms. Studies suggest that caffeine can worsen the symptoms of PMS. Abruptly cutting down caffeine in coffee and tea can make things worse so the intake should be decreased or reduced prior to one week before menstruation.

Some women who suffer from PMS have a craving for food especially for sweets. It satisfies their hunger and boosts their mood by increasing their sugar levels. But after this sugar they experience headaches, palpitations or fatigue. If you also find the similar symptoms try eating small meals regularly to keep blood sugar levels stable. Chocolate should be avoided since it aggravates mood swings and behavoiur changes. Other foods to be avoided are refined carbohydrates, sugars, coffee, tea and tobacco. Foods that are oily, fried or spicy are preferably to be avoided. Like wise eating meat is not advisable during these days.

The weight gain during this period is about one kg or more. This phenomenon is transient. The water retention they have during this period will be over with menstruation and they return back to their normal weight. It is advisable to take diet consisting of plenty of sprouted pulses and wheat, fruits and vegetables and low in fat from one week prior to menstruation.


  1. Have diet high in carbohydrate and low in fat.
  2. Consume vitamin B6 and E rich foods like fish, whole grains, wheat germ and green leafy vegetables.
  3. Take calcium rich food such as milk, curd, paneer, fenugreek leaves, drumstick leaves and ragi.
  4. Use evening prime rose oil.
  5. Regular walking, abdominal and pelvic exercises.


  1. Caffeine containing food items like coffee, tea and chocolate in excess.
  2. Refined carbohydrates, sugars and tobacco.
  3. Foods that are oily, fried or spicy.