Diet plays a crucial role in the treatment of PMS, and I’ve found that many women experience exacerbated symptoms of PMS when their blood sugar is not under control. In fact, controlling blood sugar is a crucial step in eliminating PMS.
Many women are relieved to learn that their sugar cravings are not the result of a weak character but have an actual physiological cause. After ovulation, which occurs about two weeks before a period, the insulin-binding capacity of the body’s cells change, affecting the response to sugar in the diet. Also, certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies, especially a chromium deficiency, can contribute to sugar cravings.
To relieve sweet cravings, eliminate sugar from your diet. In addition, to keep insulin levels steady and thus eliminating cravings, it’s important to have regular meals at regular times and make sure you have enough protein in your diet (fish, chicken, or turkey) at lunch and dinner.
Chromium is also quite helpful in stabilizing blood sugar and eliminating sweet cravings. Though not many people are seriously deficient in chromium, many have a marginal deficiency – people who exercise regularly, people who drink lots of coffee or tea, or people who eat a lot of sugar are more likely to have chromium deficiencies. This means that people who have a sweet tooth are often the least able to metabolize sugar effectively because of insufficient chromium stores. Many women find chromium to be extremely helpful.
Dietary fat is also a factor in contributing to PMS . Studies have linked dietary fat with prostaglandin levels and plasma estrogen levels. If you reduce the fat, the prostaglandin and estrogen levels go down, which helps to relieve symptoms. There are some good fats: olive, safflower, and linseed oil all contribute to the production of certain prostaglandins that can help relieve many PMS symptoms.
Salt in the diet causes fluid retention and thus contribute to weight gain, tenderness and swelling, and a generally bloated feeling. There’s also recent information that sodium elevates the plasma glucose response. What this means is that excess salt in the diet creates a stronger reaction to the sugar and can contribute to low blood sugar, making you feel weak and irritable.
Most women don’t realize the role that fiber plays in PMS. It has recently been recognized that fiber increases the intestinal clearance of estrogen. Too much estrogen is thought to be a contributing factor to the development of certain symptoms of PMS. An increase of fiber, particularly in the two weeks preceding the period, can help to cut down on unwanted symptoms as well as contribute to overall good health.