While most of us think that period pain, bloating and irritability are symptoms we just have to grin and bear each month, naturopath Victoria O’Sullivan says much can be done to tame the PMS monster.
‘We should see our monthly cycle as a score check for our health,’ she says.
‘Sometimes there can be underlying issues, such as endometriosis or fibroids, but if this is not the case, the pains are a sign there is an inflammation or hormonal imbalance in the body.’
With that in mind, Victoria offers simple dietary tips for pain-free periods and says you can expect results within three menstrual cycles!
1 ELIMINATE TOXIC FATS
What is a toxic fat? Culprits include processed vegetable oils, margarines and deep-fried food.
2 EAT YOUR VEGIES
Victoria says measure out six to seven cups of vegetables to get an idea of how much you need daily. Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts are high in indoles, which are excellent for maintaining your hormonal health.
3 HERBS CAN HELP
Chaste tree berries can help boost progesterone, and therefore help to normalise the menstrual cycle. Studies have found that PMS symptoms such as irritability and headaches may ease.
4 ELIMINATE CAFFEINE
Caffeine can lower serotonin levels, reduce uptake of vitamins and lead to inflammation. Avoiding it will help if you are dealing with abdominal pains.
5 NO PROCESSED SUGAR
Victoria says you’re far better off getting your sugar from natural sources, but adds that you should still limit your intake to two pieces of fruit a day.
6 TAKE VITAMIN D
Vitamin D could provide pain relief. Twenty women who took the vitamin five days before their period reported pain two points lower than their two previous cycles (on a scale of one to 10). After two months, they reported a 41 per cent decrease in pain levels, according to a study in the Journal of American Medical Association’s Archives of Internal Medicine.