At least 85 percent of women deal with PMS during their lifetimes, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists . In addition to headaches, moodiness, bloating and fatigue, many women suffer from painful, sometimes debilitating, cramps. If PMS and its associated cramps are putting a damper on your health every month, here are a few foods that might help.
Menstrual cramps are caused by uterine contractions that help the body shed the uterine lining. The enzyme bromelain in pineapple juice and fresh pineapple can aid in muscle relaxation.
A handful of pumpkin seeds provides a tasty dose of zinc, a mineral associated with cramp relief. Other sources of zinc include seafood, lean meats and legumes. Seeds and nuts are also high in vitamin E, which can help reduce inflammation.
Though your PMS cravings may be tempting you to scarf down a box of sugar crispies, opt for low-sugar, fortified whole-grain cereals, which are a soothing source of vitamin B6, a vitamin associated with cramp relief. Add a sliced banana and a handful of walnuts for an extra B6 boost.
Peanut butter sandwich
Slather vitamin E-rich peanut butter on vitamin B-rich whole-wheat bread for an easy-to-fix comfort food to help fend off your cramps.
Replacing the saturated fats in your diet with healthy fats, such as omega-3s, can help put your PMS to rest. Try a tuna steak with a leafy green salad, or tuck tuna salad into a whole-wheat wrap. The lean protein in tuna also can stabilize your blood sugar and reduce food cravings.
Turnip greens are perhaps the last food you’d expect to fight cramps. Yet, they’re a good source of vitamins E and C (antioxidants that can reduce inflammation), and calcium (a mineral reputed to help relieve PMS symptoms). Just saute a side of turnip greens for lunch or dinner. If greens aren’t your thing, fill up on other fresh or lightly cooked vegetables, which are low in calories but loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other phytonutrients.
Recipes to help fight cramps >>
Foods to avoid
Certain foods can intensify PMS symptoms such as cramps. These foods tend to be high in sodium, sugar, fat and additives. Caffeinated beverages, alcohol, chocolate and aged cheeses are frequent offenders, as well. Keep a journal of how various foods make you feel and avoid the cramp-triggering culprits.
More foods that can help you feel better
The opinions expressed in this article are of the author and the author alone. They do not reflect the opinions of SheKnows, LLC or any of its affiliates and they have not been reviewed by an expert in a related field or any member of the SheKnows editorial staff for accuracy, balance or objectivity. Content and other information presented on the Site are not a substitute for professional advice, counseling, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical or mental health advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on SheKnows. SheKnows does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.