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Soroptomist International Jersey have launched their ‘No More Taboo Period’ campaign (details at the end) and have asked me to give some simple dietary advice on making ‘that week’ of each month somewhat better.

This means today’s column about premenstrual syndrome (PMS) might be uncomfortable reading for some, but it does apply to all: you or someone you know will be affected, and the tips I give work well for all in terms of helping health, energy, mood, weight balance and fertility.

PMS includes tears, grumpiness, tender breasts, headaches, bloating, exhaustion and more; it is not in the slightest bit funny.

The good news is, something can be done to ease many of these symptoms, and we can start through dietary changes.

First, however, start keeping a ‘period, food and mood’ diary and notice when symptoms start so you can start pre-empting them.

Three PMS culprits are sugar, oestrogen dominance and stress. Here’s why and what you can do to help.

Sugar:

Eating refined foods and punctuating a day with snacks means you experience unnatural sugar highs and lows, with concomitant energy and mood highs and lows.

Instead, switch to eating minimally processed meals with plenty of leafy veg and natural dietary fats.

Use cinnamon and gradually stop all sugary and potato snacks.

Note: some gut bacteria and yeasts will make you crave cake and chocolate! Being aware you are being tricked by these strong chemical signals can make the move from sugar easier.

Oestrogen:

This rises and falls throughout the month and sometimes there is too much of it in relation to other hormones, adding to PMS.

To help combat this, avoid additives, eat bitter greens, keep well-hydrated and make sure you poo every day.

Include brassicas (such as broccoli and cauliflower) and avoid anything that’s been packaged in plastic, including water.

At the same time, stop using body products that contain the oestrogen-mimickers such as aluminium salts, parabens, triclosan, phthalates and musk.

Stress:

Stress hormones, such as cortisol, exacerbate PMS.

This is a huge subject so, in brief, prioritise eating a range of natural foods, getting good sleep and working on ways to reduces stress levels (such as mindfulness, singing and watching comedies); make sure you include outdoor activities and be with friendly, supportive people.

If any of these things are a problem for you, please do seek help.

For details on the campaign, see sigbi.org and redboxproject.org.

Jacqui Carrel is a nutritional consultant. You can contact her on jacqui@jacquicarrel.co.uk.

Diet for PMS
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