Making small changes to your diet could help ease pain of PMS each month

Dr John Steadman, archivist of Portsmouth History Centre based at Portsmouth Central Library     Picture:  Malcolm Wells

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If each month you fly off the handle at your partner or children for no apparent reason, feel anxious and panicky at work despite normally being measured and in control, or have inexplicable bouts of low mood, you could be suffering from premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Those are just a few of the symptoms that were highlighted during PMS Awareness Week.

While PMS is often a topic for humour, it can be life-limiting for those who suffer severe bouts of the condition – around one in 20 women.

Yet, in general, the impact of the condition on women has been largely poorly understood by the medical profession.

Improving diet is considered by many nutritionists to be helpful. In general, they advise a diet rich in fibre, protein and essential fats, and to reduce intake of sugar, salt, caffeine and alcohol.

‘Including broccoli, cauliflower, kale and cabbage in the diet can to help balance hormones naturally,’ says Hazel Courteney, author of 500 Of The Most Important Health Tips You’ll Ever Need.

She also advises switching from sodium-based salt to magnesium-based sea salt to help minimise fluid retention and breast tenderness.

‘Generally, cut down on animal fats, burgers, sausages and rich meat-based meals which contain high levels of saturated fat and salt,’ she adds.

‘Breakfast on an oat-based cereal, fruit and protein, such as eggs, to help balance blood sugars. It’s also helpful to include small amounts of quality protein with each meal, such as fresh fish, eggs and chicken.’