It doesn’t’ feel like “that time of the month” unless it doesn’t come with a ‘yours’ truly’ precursor –Premenstrual Syndrome, commonly called ‘PMS’. And it is no simple & shy chick! It arrives with full pomp and show – making its entry loud and clear with an entourage of sidekicks – mood swings, bloating, food cravings, ballooning breasts, uncontrollable irritability and of course, tears. PMS is no easy babe – you can’t avoid, escape or ignore it.
Most women share a hate-hate relationship with PMS. The number of years and experience do not count here. Every month when PMS strikes, it drives you out of your wits. An imbalance of estrogen and progesterone levels combined with factors such as stress, insufficient sleep, and junk food, the hormonal plunge wreak havoc on your emotional health. Raiding the medicine cabinet, however, is not the only way to deal with the PMS problem. Here’s how you can cut it out from your monthly calendar by eating right and making these lifestyle changes:
- SWEAT it out
If you are looking for more reasons to commit to an exercise routine, here’s the most compelling one. Research has shown that exercise can help alleviate your PMS symptoms. When you work out, your body releases pain-busting endorphins, pleasure-inducing dopamine and depression-fighting serotonin. Also, when you sweat and stretch the blood flow to uterine, abdominal and lower-back muscles increases, which then help ease the tension that leads to cramps.
- Fix your SLEEP timings
Fatigue is one of the significant reasons for PMS related irritability and mood swings. And there is a reason behind it. You feel more fatigued before periods due to a lack of serotonin in the brain. It is the chemical that regulates mood and social behavior. In addition, the PMS symptoms such as flatulence, bloating, constipation, acidity, body cramps, and headaches make the body more lethargic. So don’t miss your 8 hours sleep to beat the PMS Fatigue and moodiness.
- Get on the MAT to DE-STRESS
Ever wondered why do you feel angrier, weepier and more anxious or irritable before your periods? Right before your period, your progesterone levels are at an all-time high, leading your hormonal balance to a tailspin. Along with this your stress level also increases because your body starts producing more cortisol – the stress hormone. And this all leads to a volcanic eruption of emotions. Yoga and Meditation or any other stress reliever for that matter is good to keep your cortisol levels in check. Yoga and meditation also help the body produce more serotonin (anxiety fighting hormone) and dopamine (the happy hormone) – and both these help you combat PMS the natural way.
- Cut the SUGAR & lay off CAFFEINE
Some things can never be good for your body and health. Sugar and Caffeine are one of those things. Your body craves sugar during that time of the month but it is a vicious cycle. When you give in to the sugar craving, your blood glucose levels rapidly shoot up and make PMS worse. You can switch to natural sweeteners such as soaked fig, pind khajur, munakka, raisins or fruit to beat your sugar cravings without throwing your glucose levels out of balance.
Looking for comfort in a coffee mug? There is none in it! Caffeine is not good in particular because it is dehydrating in nature, and this could severe the PMS symptoms such as anxiety and lead to sleep deprivation. During this time you should have more water. So, sip on some herbal teas. And if you really can’t give up then you can have Caffe Latte – one cup is fine.
- Stay HYDRATED
Is there a problem that water cannot solve? It is called the source of life for a reason. Water helps to reduce bloating, constipation, lethargy and maintain energy. At the same time, it also helps flush your system so your body holds onto less liquid.
- Take the help of HERBS
Some herbs are the best-kept secret to good health. For PMS you can try the following herbs:
– Ajwaine Gur Khadha in the mid-morning. Having it a few days before your periods helps in controlling indigestion, which is due to PMS. During periods, it helps reduce menstrual cramps. It also aids in easy flow of blood without much pain.
– Ashwagandha tea before bedtime, as it beats the adrenal fatigue.
– Cinnamon Milk is also a good option as it contains anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, meaning it helps relieve the muscle spasms during this time).
– Mulethi roots can moderate spasms and alleviate pain because of these are antispasmodic in nature, and relieve muscle spasms in the abdomen and legs during PMS. Mulethi also contains Flavonoids, which are antioxidants known to improve circulation and relieve tissue damage and help in reducing inflammation.
– Chamomile Tea also works, since it is antispasmodic as well as anti-anxiety in nature. It helps in relieving pains and regulating emotions.
- Load up on these NUTRIENTS
– Calcium: Did you know Calcium deficiency could lead to severe PMS and hormonal disturbance in the body? In a research study, it is noticed that it can significantly reduce premenstrual depression, fatigue, edema, and PMS pain in women.
Healthy sources: sesame seeds, almonds, cashews, green leafy veggies and lentils.
Vitamin D: This can bring a big change to your overall health and not just PMS. Improving vitamin D status may improve the inflammatory factors and antioxidant capacity and, hence, significantly bring down the frequency and severity of PMS symptoms.
Healthy sources: Exposure to sunlight, Supplements as per existing levels
Magnesium: Research studies have shown that magnesium supplementation can remarkably reduce PMS symptoms such as mood swings, irritability, depression, anxiety, bloating, fluid retention, breast tenderness, sugar cravings, headaches and poor sleep, which affect 75 percent of women.
Healthy sources: Amaranth, Jowar, bajra and Ragi
Zinc: You need Zinc to activate B6. It’s an essential mineral for 100 enzyme reactions, along with fertility, immune function, hormone synthesis, mood health, and stomach acid production.
Healthy sources: Almonds, Suji, Halim seeds and Cashews