Super Foods to Prevent PMS

Eliminating some foods from your diet may help relieve some symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Adding others may help even more. Here's how to eat to beat PMS.

There are diet strategies for treating and preventing some symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), such as water retention, bloating, moodiness, and weight gain. These strategies include cutting back on salt and salty foods, such as processed meats and canned products, consuming less caffeine, sugar and alcohol, and following a diet that is generally high in fiber and low in fat. Overall, a diet to prevent PMS is the same general diet most people should follow in order to stay healthy and avoid weight gain.

That means cutting back on table salt, salty chips and other snack foods, sugary desserts, and fried foods, and eating more fiber- and nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grain products. But fighting PMS also means including some very specific foods in your diet, especially those that are high in calcium and manganese. These two minerals have been show to be deficient in people who suffer from PMS and at the same time, high levels have been found in people who have normal menstrual cycles and experience few or no physical or psychological discomfort.

Healthy foods that are high in calcium include reduced-fat varieties of most dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese. Collards, spinach and other leafy green vegetables, legumes such as black-eyed peas and other beans, canned salmon, soy products such as some brands of tofu and fortified soy milk, and other fortified, dairy-alternatives such as rice milk and almond milk beverages, also contribute significant amounts of calcium to the diet.

Good sources of manganese include whole grains and whole-grain foods, such as bulgur wheat, buckwheat and oats, almonds; brown rice; pecans, peanuts and other nuts, and seeds, pinto beans, navy beans, and other legumes; pineapple, pineapple juice, spinach, and sweet potatoes.  Green and black teas also provide significant amounts of manganese.

Speak to your physician before you take calcium or manganese in supplement form for the treatment of PMS. While it is almost impossible to get too much of a nutrient from food, it is possible to overdose on mineral supplements. You may already be taking calcium supplements, and you may be getting enough manganese from supplemental products marketed for joint health or arthritis. Since researchers are not yet sure which of these minerals is directly associated with PMS and there are no recommended doses for PMS treatment, your best bet for now is to get your calcium and manganese from food or from supplements recommended by a doctor who takes a holistic (whole-body) approach to your health.


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Shamberger, RJ. "Calcium, Magnesium, and other Elements in the Red Blood Cells and Hair of Normals and Patients with Premenstrual Syndrome." Biological Trace Element Research. 2003 Aug;94(2):123-9 Web. Sep 2011

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MedlinePlus: Manganese. Web. Sep 2011

Oregan State University: Manganese. Web. Sep 2011