6 Foods Scientifically Proven To Fight PMS Symptoms

So long, cramps—hello, spinach!

September 7, 2017
spinach
istetiana/getty

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 6 foods to reach for next time PMS has you down.

(Slash your cholesterol, burn stubborn belly fat, solve your insomnia, and more—naturally!—with Rodale's Eat For Extraordinary Health & Healing!)

peanut butter
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Peanut butter

If you find yourself struggling to keep a positive mood during your period, peanuts and peanut butter are very important for you toolkit. Peanuts are high in vitamin B6 and magnesium. Magnesium helps to improve your mood because it helps regulate serotonin. Serotonin is a natural mood stabilizer that helps fight depression—a boon when you're suffering from PMS-related blues. 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
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Pork and beans

Pork and beans are rich in B-vitamins thiamine and riboflavin, which research shows could prevent women from developing PMS. A University of Massachusetts-Amherst study found that women who consumed 1.9 milligrams of thiamine and 2.5 milligrams of riboflavin per day had a lower risk of developing PMS. Try a 3-ounce serving of the meat and a cup of cooked beans on a regular basis to keep those cramps away. (Here are 9 more weird food cures.)

spinach
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Spinach

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. Spinach is also a great source of calcium, which, according to one large study, reduces PMS symptoms like headaches, cramping, moodiness, and food cravings by half. (Here are 20 more great vegan sources of calcium.)

Here's the easiest way to cook spinach—in under 2 minutes!

pan of salmon
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Salmon

If you’re looking for a one stop shop, salmon should be your go-to food. Got low energy? It helps with that. Dealing with stress and brain fog? Got you covered. High in Omega-3 fatty acids, salmon helps with both mood and brain function. With so many present B vitamins, it can also do wonders for energy. Pair that with the high levels of Vitamin D in Salmon and we get a wonderful concoction that also aids in the reduction of stress and tension. (But you'll want to avoid these 4 canned fish at all costs.)

Related: 8 Period Mistakes You're Making Every Month

dark chocolate
5/6 Reese Lassman / EyeEm/getty
Dark chocolate

If you crave dark chocolate leading up to your period, go for it. Dark chocolate is packed with antioxidant to increase circulation and lower blood pressure, and it's packed with magnesium, which helps with fatigue and irritability. (Here are7 more legitimate health benefits of dark chocolate.)

bananas
6/6 Luis Sanmiguel / EyeEm/getty
Bananas

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—and try out these 3 gentle yoga poses that fight period pain. (Here are 13 more potassium-rich foods.)

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