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A Nutritionist’s Approach to Managing Premenstrual Syndrome

A huge number of women experience premenstrual symptoms at some point in their lives. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) can affect up to 90% of women of childbearing age with 2-10% experiencing severe symptoms affecting their everyday activities. PMS includes emotional, behavioural and physical symptoms such as breast pain, abdominal pain, headaches, irritability, mood swings, anxiety, insomnia and food cravings; they are characterised by being cyclical and usually occur during the week or so prior to menstruation. Does this sound like you?

It is thought that #women experience these symptoms due to hormone imbalances like too much or too little progesterone, abnormal secretion of oestrogen or even excess cortisone, or possibly due to psychological, social or genetic reasons. Whilst there are a number of pharmaceutical and hormone therapies available, you might be more inclined to manage your #PMS symptoms naturally. As a nutritionist, I suggest trying the following nutrition and lifestyle interventions.


Research suggests that women with diets rich in #omega3 fatty acids, #calcium and #vitaminD, and low in animal fats, salt and caffeine have less incidence of PMS symptoms. I therefore recommend that you:

  • Eat plenty of fatty fish like salmon, trout, mackerel and sardines (2-3 x/week) and raw (activated ideally), fresh nuts and seeds e.g. walnuts, linseeds, chia seeds.

  • Eat plenty of plant-based foods e.g. grains, vegetables, legumes and fruits.

  • Consume adequate Calcium and Vitamin-D rich foods e.g. salmon, sardines, eggs, yoghurt, tofu, legumes and dark leafy green vegetables.

  • Limit red meats to once or twice a week to reduce the inflammatory effects, however, for many wo