Pms Diet

For many women, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a monthly problem. The changing hormones can wreak havoc on the body and a woman’s emotional well being. Though pain relievers can alleviate some of the physical discomfort and act as a component of PMS treatment, women often feel that nothing can help them when it comes to changing moods, fluctuating food cravings and overall wellness. But hopefully, a balance can be struck when it comes to food and PMS – one where food can help and not exacerbate the problem.

PMS Diet: Food and PMS

There is no precise PMS diet. Diet, however, can help mitigate some of the ups and downs associated with PMS. With some simple steps, your diet can help your body as it transitions through your menstrual cycle.

When your body is in its pre-menstrual stage, PMS symptoms like bloating, irritability and upset stomach can occur. These are in large part due to the surge in hormones that occurs just before your period. Though it may be especially difficult to watch one’s diet because of food cravings caused by the PMS itself, keeping an eye on food and supplement intake can help mitigate some of the symptoms of PMS.

In order to reduce bloating, it is important to stay well hydrated. It seems counter-intuitive to drink more fluids to reduce water retention, but that is exactly the right remedy. Water or electrolyte beverages will serve you best. Avoid caffeinated beverages, though, as caffeine actually has a diuretic quality and can make you feel more on edge.

It is also important to watch out for too much sodium. Ingesting salt or high-sodium foods can make you retain water just when you want to minimize the bloating. Keep an eye on ready-made soups and sodas, which are often-forgotten sources of mega-sodium.

Other Helpful Dietary Tips

Try to stick with lean meats, such as chicken and pork, and fish during this time. Red meat can actually increase the level of estrogen in the body, which is not helpful when you are already on estrogen overload.

Try using safflower oil in your meal preparations as well. Safflower oil has been shown to positively affect prostaglandins, the hormones responsible for bloating and tender breasts.

To keep your digestive system on an even keel, be sure to eat lots of whole grains and legumes as well. Complex carbohydrates can also play a role in upping some key neurotransmitters, which may be diminished by shifting hormonal levels. It is thought that this depression of neurotransmitters is in large part responsible for the mood swings associated with PMS, which may explain why women also have cravings for sugars and other starchy foods during this time as a built-in counter effect. However, those foods tend to increase bloating and water retention, so opt for whole grains and fruits instead.

PMS and Supplements

Vitamins can also help stabilize a woman’s body and help alleviate some physical and emotional discomfort from PMS. Vitamins D and B6 can help, along with evening primrose may give a body an extra boost to help cope with physical changes. Incorporating some of these changes over time can definitely help a woman cope with PMS.


Gilbert, Sue (2002). PMS Prevention Diet. Retrieved July 27, 2007, from the iVillage Web site:,,h8qx-3,00.html. (2007). What PMS diet is recommended? Retrieved July 27, 2007, from the Health-Cares Web site:

Watson, Stephanie (2007). How PMS Works. Retrieved July 27, 2007, from the How Stuff Works Web site: