Yes, ladies, we have all been through it - those sleepless weeks filled with cramps and sugar cravings, punctuated by fits of depression where the world seems to have ended and no happiness is ever possible. All this and cranky moods, along with bloating, water retention and whatnot: in short, I am talking about PMS, the one nightmare week before our period finally arrives. Some deal with it by stuffing themselves with chocolate. For some, cheese fries, for others ice cream is the cure. Whatever the remedy is, it is usually sweet or greasy and, almost always, fattening. If you’ve been looking for ways to combat those irksome symptoms without jeopardizing either your wellbeing or your waistline, here are five healthy foods to beat the blues during that time of the month:
Bananas – along with being rich in iron and calcium, they will help you reduce sleep disturbances by controlling the production of the hormone melatonin in your brain. Doctors have found a direct relationship between heavy menstrual cramps and lack of sleep, meaning that sleeping better might just save you the painkillers, which your health will surely thank you for as time goes by.
Herbal teas – these are caffeine free and will relax you. Camomile tea is an excellent option. It eases your anxiety and can also help you sleep better if consumed right before bed. The Indian substitute for camomile is tea with tulsi, honey, and ginger. There are also other herbal teas available that cater specifically to PMS and they are good choices too.
Yoghurt – this will keep your calcium levels regulated, preventing bloating, and will also help you have your period on time. Yoghurt also helps you strengthen your bones, preventing the common condition of osteoporosis or brittle bones, later in life.
Magnesium rich foods like spinach, peanuts, beans, pumpkin seeds and tofu. It has been found through medical research that women with low levels of magnesium are more likely to experience PMS than the others. Magnesium rich foods help regulate the production of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that controls emotional responses in our brain and acts as the body’s natural appetite suppressor. Combat those mood swings in style by snacking on foods rich in magnesium.
Brown rice – this variety of staple contains the threefold benefits of magnesium, vitamin B6, and manganese. This helps combat depression, edginess and moodiness during PMS, and also reduces water retention. Another added advantage – experts have found that consuming brown rice instead of white rice, because of the added nutrients the former contains, makes your skin glow. Now rustle up a rice based salad, or mix it in with your favourite curry and sit back and watch the wonders it works for both your physical and mental health.
Lastly, a word of caution. Stay off caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes during PMS. It has been discovered that women who smoke in their late teens and early twenties face a greater risk of running into gynaecological trouble later in life than those who don’t. It is also important to consume plenty of fluids during this time of the month and go to bed on time, taking care not to skip meals in the day, especially not your breakfast.