Jewish Nutrition

The Jewish site for Kosher Food and Healthy Eating

Treating PMS Naturally

According to the Mayo Clinic 3 out of 4 women experience some form of PMS and, although periods are one of the curses given to us women after we left the garden of Eden, there is a big difference between feeling a little uncomfortable at this time and suffering when you dont need to be.  Conventional medicine often resorts to giving the pill to PMS sufferers which has side effects of its own.  Other drugs which may be given include NSAIDS and anti-depressants which are basically just plasters on the wound, treating the symptoms rather than the cause.  Fortunately there is much we can do without resorting to taking drugs.

A poor diet has been shown to contribute significantly to the severity of PMS symptoms, so switching to a wholefood diet, avoiding refined foods ie. the 'whites' and refined fats, has a very beneficial effect on reducing most symptoms.  In fact certain specific foods such as chocolate, hard cheese and bananas can trigger PMS in some women, especially those with increased anxiety, mood swings and irritability.

To treat PMS we divide it into four types.  You may have just one or a combination.  There are some parts of the treatment which are common to all. One is supplementation with magnesium, this mineral is one of the most commonly deficient in our diets.  I wonder if deficiency could be an actual cause of PMS?  The treatments described below are in addition to improving your basic diet, taking a general multivitamin and omega-3 supplement.  Remember to calculate the amounts in your multi into these recommended amounts.

Type A: A stands for Anxiety.  Symptoms are mood swings, anxiety, irritability and super sensitivity.  Take magnesium citrate (4-600mg per day), as above avoid bananas, chocolate and hard cheeses, make sure your multivitamin contains extra B-vitamins or take a separate supplement.

Type H: H stands for hyperhydration.  Symptoms are bloating, weight gain, breast swelling and tenderness and general emotional upset.  Take magnesium citrate (4-600mg per day), potassium 1-2g per day, B-complex vitamins, evening primrose oil may also help.  Regular exercise is very important in this type of PMS.  Food allergies may also play an important role in this type of PMS particularly wheat and milk, it will be helpful to do a food trial and then to avoid allergens.  Also it is very important to drink plenty of clean water.

Type D: D stands for depression.  Symptoms include Depression, confusion and memory loss.  Take magnesium citrate (4-600mg per day), zinc 30-60mg per day, Vitamin B6 1-300mg per day.  Taking 5-HTP can also help.  An alternative to this is warm milk before bed, it must be warm to work.

Type P: P stands for pain.  Symptoms are cramps, low back pain, nausea etc.  Take magnesium citrate 4-600mg per day, if you are taking a calcium supplement you will need to take more magnesium than calcium.  Vitamin E 400-800 IUs per day, vitamin B6 1-300mg per day.

Type C: C stands for cravings.  Symptoms are sugar and carbohydrate cravings, fatigue and headaches.  Take magnesium as above, and most importantly chromium 400mcg per day.  You should be eating a diet low in sugar and refined carbs.  It will also help to eat meals combining carbs and protein and to have a carb (without protein) snack before bed or late evening.

These programs have a high success rate when combined with a good basic diet.  Pay particular attention to regulating your blood sugar levels and minimising stress.  You can feel confident to try the above methods yourself however it is always helpful to consult a nutritionist.  Improvements in diet have a drastic effect not only on PMS but on improved fertility and general wellbeing.