PMS is never fun for anyone. Between the bloating, the cramping, the cravings and the mood swings, it’s not exactly the best week of the month for any girl or innocent bystanders. While a pain reliever can be good for stopping cramps and avoiding caffeine and sugar can help reduce the severity of your PMS (or worse PMDD!) symptoms, did you know that there are actually foods you can eat to help with this dreaded time of the month? They may not entirely take PMS out of your vocabulary, but recent studies show they’re definitely worth trying! Foods that are good for fighting PMS include:
1. Fat is your friend. A recent study in the journal Reproductive Health found that women given a pill containing a mix of essential fatty acids significantly reduced their PMS symptoms. Another study published in Nutrition Research in 2000 found that women who supplemented their diet with omega-3 fatty acids in fish oils also found relief. Bottom line? Don’t be shy of healthy fats (avocados, salmon, nuts, olive oil) and consider supplementing with fish oil.
2. B It Up. A diet rich in B vitamins—think meat, beans, spinach, fortified cereal and whole grains—can also help. A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who ate these foods had about a quarter risk lower of PMS than those who did not. Word to the wise: Supplementation of B vitamins didn’t make much of a difference in symptoms, so it’s just another reason to eat a healthy diet!
3. The calcium and vitamin D connection. Vitamin D seems to be good for everything these days, including PMS. A 2005 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D may lower the risk of developing PMS in the first place. To get the benefit, researchers recommend getting four servings of skim or low-fat milk, fortified orange juice or low-fat dairy foods such as yogurt each day, which adds up to about 1,200 milligrams of calcium and 400 International Units of vitamin D a day