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The best foods for PMS

The best foods for PMS

About 90% of adolescent females experience a common phenomenon, about menstrual pain.

And it doesn't stop in your 20s: Researchers estimate that 84% of young women struggle with bloating, cramping and abdominal pain during their monthly periods. Anyone who has struggled with menstrual pain (aka dysmenorrhea) can confirm this often makes them put their lives on pause for several days.

The verdict from research conducted by the Lewis Hatz School of Medicine concluded that: A vegan, anti-inflammatory diet is best to possibly prevent cramps, while a diet rich in sugar, processed foods, salt, coffee and animal meat tends to trigger them.

What This Health Study Found

Many people turn to over-the-counter pain-reliever and anti-inflammatory drugs to ease the aches, but there's actually a fair amount of science regarding dietary patterns and menstrual pain.

Using a review of current published and peer-reviewed literature on the topic, researchers found that diets high in omega-3 fatty acids tend to reduce inflammation, which is a key contributor to menstrual pain. Diets high in omega-6 fatty acids, conversely, usually promote inflammation. The researchers also cross-referenced the Dietary Inflammatory Index and discovered that the best foods to prevent period cramps appear to be:

  • Fruits

  • Vegetables

  • Beans and legumes

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Olive oil

On the flip side, these foods and drinks usually increase the risk for cramps:

  • Sugar

  • Processed foods

  • Sodium

  • Coffee

  • Animal meats

Prior to a menstrual period, endometrial cells build a lining inside the uterus to prepare to possibly host a fertilised egg to make a baby. In the absence of pregnancy, these cells then release a lot of prostaglandins, a specific type of fatty acids (that work like hormones), which essentially communicate to that uterine layer that it should contract and expel itself from the body. During this process, blood vessels and muscles constrict, and may lead to cramping and discomfort if strong. Prostaglandins tend to overdo it during inflammatory conditions.

Exercise, sleep and stress reduction are also all important pieces of the pain-reduction pie.

The Bottom Line

In addition to integrating enough physical activity, managing stress levels and getting an adequate amount of sleep, eating a plant-based diet light in inflammatory ingredients and heavy in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and heart-healthy fats is best to quiet cramps, this new research review finds.

The Vintage Avenue Team x

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