PMS has a bad reputation with very good reason. Bloating, headaches, moodiness—even if you don't experience them all, it only takes one symptom to throw off your whole day. But there are actually a ton of foods that can provide you with healthy nutrients and help alleviate some of your PMS symptoms. Get ready to put Mother Nature in her place by satisfying your cravings and conquering your symptoms at the same time:
Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, and Artichokes
It seems counterintuitive to conquer menstrual bloating with fiber, which is known to fill you up, but high-fiber veggies can actually ease bloating. Their high water content help push things along and rid the puffiness, gas and discomfort. Stay away from salty and high-sodium foods, which have the opposite effect of what you're looking for. That bag of chips will only prolong your swollen suffering.
Wheat Berry, Quinoa, and Popcorn
Do you ever feel like you literally have ants in your pants while PMSing? Even the smallest things are so irritating you could just crawl out of your skin? Alleviate your short temper with complex carbohydrates. These boost serotonin, the feel-good hormone. They also provide a steady supply of energy so that you don't feel ravenous an hour later. Plus, one study from the Archives of Internal Medicine found that people on a low-carb diet were more likely to feel depressed, anxious, or angry than those who consumed whole grain each day. So if you're looking for a mood-boosting food, complex carbs are your best bet.
Grilled Salmon, Fortified Eggs, and Chia Seeds
If your period also brings a case of the blues along monthly, add a dose of omega-3s. These little fatty acids can also boost your mood. In fact, research from Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital found that omega-3s are so powerful, they may even function like an antidepressant. Grilled salmon, fortified eggs, and chia seeds are all great sources to keep the menstrual blues at bay. Keep in mind that you might want to steer clear of cocktails if you're feeling like a downer, as alcohol acts as a depressant and may exacerbate your feelings of sadness.
Sleep disturbances right before your period are the norm for many women. Plus, experts at John Hopkins University in Baltimore found that too little sleep made women more susceptible to pain (meaning those cramps will feel even worse). So make sure to get your z's by eating bananas, which contain melatonin—a sleep-aid hormone that's released at night and helps regulate our body's natural rhythms.
Lean Beef, Turkey, and Chicken
Feeling incredibly lethargic? Vitamin B12, found in lean meats, provides energy to fight that sluggish feeling. Plus, the protein in meat will help you stay alert.
Kale, Spinach, and Romaine
Hormonal acne is one of the most annoying side effects of PMS. Fight it with dark green leafy veggies, which are good sources of vitamin A. This fat-soluble vitamin fights dry skin and acne and blocks UV radiation (though you still need your sunscreen).
If you're often plagued with headaches before or during your period, magnesium can help. The nutrient has been found to help relax blood vessels, which can alleviate your headache. Bake some pumpkin seeds or sauté a side of spinach with coconut oil and garlic to up your intake.
Those PMS cravings are no joke. But the best defense is a good offense: Stay ahead of your hunger! That means starting your day off with a breakfast that is rich in protein and healthy fats. An energy omelet will help you start off your day right so you feel satisfied and energized. Scramble one whole egg with two egg whites, a half a cup of cottage cheese and two ounces of turkey. You'll be so full of satisfying and nutrient-dense deliciousness that you can fight off any craving.