5 Foods to Avoid if You Have PMS

Upon some reflection over the last few weeks, I have realized that I really want to focus my business and my writing on hormonal issues. Having experienced problems with hormones myself, from pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) to infertility to adrenal exhaustion, I have done lots of research on the topic and the more I talk about it, the more common these issues appear to be amongst my friends and family. So I’ve decided to create a new category of posts just to address these issues, called “Hormones”.

Now what to write about first? I’ve heard mention of so many difficulties from menstrual cramps to hot flashes, low thyroid function to ovarian cysts, and low energy to inability to lose weight. All of these can be related to hormonal imbalances and I will eventually touch on them all.   I think one of the most common complaints I hear is of PMS and that will be my focus here.PMS

PMS is another of those issues that is so common that we think it’s normal. How many women do you know who don’t experience at least one symptom related to PMS? Headaches, mood swings, irritability, bloating, and breast tenderness are common symptoms and there are very few women I know who are completely free of all of them.  Today I’m going to tell you about some foods that make these symptoms worse.

5 foods to avoid if you have PMS:

  1. Caffeine: causes breast tenderness and can increase anxiety, irritability and mood swings. It also depletes the body’s stores of B vitamins, which we need to help us manage the stress response and to metabolize carbohydrates.   Decaffeinated coffee or herbal teas make good substitutes.
  2. Dairy products: products coming from cows can interfere with the absorption of magnesium, a mineral that can decrease cramps, headaches and stabilize mood swings. Dairy can also impact the liver’s ability to metabolize female hormones. There are lots of substitutes out there including almond, hemp, rice and coconut milks. You’ll find one you like.
  3. Chocolate: I know. Many of us crave chocolate in the week leading up to menstruation as it contains the magnesium that I mentioned above. It also often contains the caffeine and sugar that give us a quick pick-me-up. But I urge you to resist the temptation as it can worsen mood swings, intensify those sugar cravings and can cause breast tenderness. Try unsweetened carob if you really need the taste of chocolate. You can use it in drinks, smoothies or baking where you would cocoa powder or chocolate chips.PMS
  4. Sugar: you will hear me talk about sugar in many of my posts as I believe it is the worst thing out there for our bodies. Sugar depletes the body’s B vitamins and also creates energy highs and lows (among other things). If you absolutely need something sweet, honey, maple syrup or agave are better sweeteners. Stevia, a natural herbal sweetener, is also a good substitute.
  5. Salt: some of you may have more of an affinity to salty snacks than sweets and I encourage you to cut back on them too. Salt causes fluid retention, bloating and breast tenderness. Watch the sodium content of any processed foods you buy (soups, frozen foods, and condiments) or avoid them altogether. There are also lots of no-salt seasonings out there that you can use for cooking.

You are probably thinking that I just told you to avoid everything that makes you feel better when you have PMS and I did! These foods may make you feel better emotionally but that feeling is temporary and they will ultimately make you feel worse. I promise you that you will crave these foods less when you eat fewer of them. Your taste buds will adjust and your hormones will too!



  • Categories: Hormones, New

    27 Comments

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      It is the little changes which will make the biggest changes.
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    • Jennifer says:

      Do we need to avoid them ALL the time or just during the times where we would experience PMS symptoms?

      • Sheri says:

        Great question, Jen. Best to avoid these foods all of the time. If you are going to indulge, do so in moderation and outside of the premenstrual phase of your cycle. Also, if you choose consume dairy, make it organic. The hormones and anti-bacterial agents given to dairy cows that are not organically raised can leech into milk and further disrupt your hormones.

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