Do you deal with cramps, food cravings or depression during your menstrual cycle? Find natural remedies, such as supplements and herbs, for the most common PMS symptoms.
I get a lot of questions from friends—busy, hardworking, 40-something moms of young kids—who are desperate for effective, natural relief from PMS symptoms. Some even use smartphone apps in order to be forewarned (and warn their beloved families) that "that time" is coming.
Unpleasant as they are, PMS symptoms can serve as a wake-up call for making nutrition and lifestyle upgrades that can address an underlying hormone imbalance, women’s health experts say. Here’s a guide to remedying three common PMS symptoms.
Symptom list #1: poor sleep, irritability, fatigue, muscle cramps, aches and pains
Likely culprit: Nutrient depletion (calcium, magnesium, vitamins B6, E, and K)
Magnesium, along with calcium, helps relax the body and promotes more restful sleep. Although a 2:1 calcium to magnesium ratio is common, a 1:1 ratio might work better for severe symptoms, says Marcy Holmes, RNC, of womentowomen.com.
Product pick: Natural Calm Plus Calcium
- Fish oil.
Take 1,000 mg to 3,000 mg daily, says Holmes.
Product pick: Nordic Natural Ultimate Omega-D3
- High-quality multivitamin.
Look for optimal doses of important B vitamins, minerals, and more.
Product pick: NOW Foods Eve Women’s Multivitamin
Symptom list #2: Feeling shaky or lightheaded, strong food cravings
Likely culprit: Unstable blood sugar
- Eat a protein-rich breakfast.
Starting the day the right way helps keep blood sugar balanced.
Product pick: Delicious Living's breakfast bowl recipes
- Munch on hearty, healthy snacks.
Steer clear of carbs and other empty calories; choose filling, nutrient-dense snacks with protein. While you're at it, here are foods to avoid.
Product pick: KIND Cranberry Almond Antioxidants bar
- Drink green tea.
Cut morning caffeine in half, says Holmes. Start by just having a small cup, or replace it altogether with lower-caffeine green tea, which offers major antioxidant benefits plus calming L-theanine. If you have a diet soda habit, also cut it down and replace with healthier drinks.
Product pick: Yogi Green Tea Energy
Symptom list #3: Having a short fuse at times, feeling overwhelmed, tendency toward anxiety or depression
Likely culprit: Too much stress
- Try a supportive herbal blend.
Chasteberry may help ease PMS symptoms and ashwagandha and passionflower can improve the mind and body’s response to stress and anxiety.
Product pick: Metagenics Chasteberry Plus
- Prioritize restful sleep.
Getting to bed earlier and sleeping longer is a proven stress cure.
- Drink passionflower tea before bed.
A traditional sedative, passionflower can help you relax and fall asleep more quickly.
Product pick: Yogi Bedtime
What natural remedies work for your PMS symptoms? Share in the comments.