Plant-based diet for menstruation

Foods for the premenstrual syndrome

Importance of food to treat or prevent premenstrual syndrome

Diet seems to play a fundamental role in the prevention of the premenstrual syndrome. A suitable diet would provide those components that appear in low levels during the premenstrual syndrome or help to reduce some of the symptoms that are related to it.

Some foods contain serotonin or potassium, which deficiencies seem to be related to this syndrome. Others can help to reduce swelling by helping to remove liquids from the body.

On the other hand it is important to know which foods are not advisable or which consumption to take during this period, either because they contribute to increased water retention, or because they increase the nervousness or the degree of anxiety, etc.

Recommended foods

Foods rich in serotonin

Nettles soup
Nettles soup
  • Nettle: Among the richest is the nettle. Nettle is a weed that has a bad reputation for stinging into contact with their bite. However, it is a medicinal plant with many medicinal properties (See detailed information). Nettle is also a food plant, so a nettle soup can provide a good dose of serotonin and help eliminate the edema that generally occurs in the ankles, feet or hands of women with premenstrual syndrome.
  • Bananas: Bananas also contain this component. They are also rich in potassium, which promotes the recovery in states of nervousness and depression and, although there is widespread contrary opinion, they help to reduce weight.
  • Pineapples: Pineapples can help facilitate the absorption of proteins, preventing the accumulation of feces or the appearance of gases. They also have diuretic properties and therefore they will be well suited to alleviate the accumulation of fluids during the premenstrual syndrome. They also contain serotonin which helps improve depressive states during this syndrome.
  • Dates: With high amount of serotonin, and sugars, they can be a tasty meal for women affected by loss of appetite during menstruation. You should eat them very sparingly because of its high calorific value.

Foods rich in potassium:

They help to release water from the body, thus preventing fluid retention and other side effects characteristic of this anomaly, as a bloated body, the accumulation of gases, etc. Among all the foods containing potassium we have:

  • Lettuces: They are probably the richest vegetable in this component, because of his diuretic potential. It is highly recommended to start the meal with a good salad with lettuce as the main component, accompanied by tomatoes, endives, radishes, celery or carrots, all of them with high potassium content. If we like to add a touch of exotic flavor, it is particularly interesting to add a few leaves of dandelion or purslane, with a very high potassium content.
  • Potatoes: They are very rich in potassium, a component that is very good to combat high blood pressure and vasodilatory and diuretic properties. It has also been proven as a good coassistant in the treatment of the depression and especially for those people who present rheumatic problems, of acidosis or in problems of cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder), prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) or lithiasis (formation of calculus)
  • Tomatoes: Besides lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, it is very rich in potassium, a mineral that takes part in the regulation of the corporal liquids as well as in the good state of the nerves, the heart and of muscles. Along with calcium, very abundant also in tomatoes, it takes part in the formation of the bones.
  • Brussels sprouts: They are very suitable food for those suffering from fluid retention, reason why they will have to be habitually eaten by obese or arthritic patients or those who are trying to reduce weight. Its potassium wealth is involved in the removal of body fluids and other interesting processes such as bone calcification, the proper functioning of the heart, the nervous system or building muscle mass. Its richness in fiber can be used to prevent constipation.

Other very rich potassium plants would be vegetables like borage, spinach, asparagus, peas. Also, fruits like peaches, apricots, or grapes.

Foods rich in vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Pyridoxine or vitamin B6 is needed for the synthesis of amino acids and the metabolism of carbohydrates. It helps maintain balance of sodium and phosphorus, besides having an important role in the brain and nervous system. Their presence helps to remove excess water during the premenstrual period and, by increasing serotonin levels, avoiding a series of body disorders such as muscle weakness, mental dullness, insomnia, etc. Foods rich in this component are most dried fruits, green leaf vegetables and whole grain cereals, like oats.

Rich-fiber foods

Fiber will help prevent constipation and reduce the level of estrogen. Foods rich in fiber are most fruits and vegetables and whole grains.

Foods that are not suitable for premenstrual syndrome

Moderate the consumption of meat and fatty food because it contains saturated oils that do not benefit at all to women during this period as they may produce unwanted weight gain. Besides, all these foods cause an increase in estrogen which leads to the appearance of the known strain, especially in breasts. The consumption of whole milk, very fatty cheese or dairy products derived from whole milk should also be moderated.

Moderate sugar consumption: Pasta or products containing sugars such as pastries, candy, sweets, etc, are one of the most desired foods whose unmoderated consumption only worsens the situation. These sugars should be replaced by natural foods rich in complex carbohydrates such as fruits and grains. These will satiate the body, reduce food cravings, stabilize blood sugar levels in the blood and prevent the terrible headaches, fatigue or palpitations that occur in women with premenstrual syndrome when they consume large quantities of simple carbohidrates.

Avoid alcohol and moderate coffee consumption: Alcohol would have to be avoided completely since it produces more anxiety and irritability. Similarly, the consumption of coffee would have to be reduced gradually to avoid the worsening of the symptoms of this syndrome. This drinks should not be stopped abruptly, as their withdrawal can produce effects contrary to those desired. We should gradually quit them. Other stimulants such as cola drinks or chocolate should also be avoided.

Moderate the food with salt: To prevent the worsening of the accumulation of fluid we should avoid eating many foods that are high in sodium.

punto rojoMore information on the premenstrual syndrome.

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

1 December, 2020

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