Menstruation can be a difficult time for some women, particularly if PMS symptoms strike. PMS is often thought of as a combination of emotional, physical, and psychological symptoms related to a women’s monthly menstrual cycle, and symptoms can include everything from bloating, cramps, and headaches to fatigue, breast tenderness, and mood swings. Some studies have shown certain foods may increase PMS symptoms, and here they are:
- Alcohol. Alcohol appears to lower blood sugar but many experts claim it increases tension levels in premenstrual women because they seem to be less tolerant towards alcohol. Additionally, it may increase breast cancer, and here is a list of studies showing that tendency.
- Caffeine. According to a study conducted by Rossignol and Bonnlander, caffeine seems to not only raise blood pressure but also may increase symptoms of PMS. When researchers looked at caffeine (coffee, tea, and caffeine-sodas), they reported PMS symptoms seemed to strongly correlate with the amount of caffeine consumed because “among women with more severe symptoms, the relation between consumption of caffeine-containing beverages and premenstrual syndrome was dose-dependent.”
- Fat. CBS New reported in 2003 that a study conducted by The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology found a high-fat diet, such as the Atkins diet, “is likely to exacerbate if not cause premenstrual syndrome symptoms in women who are prone to suffering from PMS.”
- Salt. Salt seems to increase bloating and result in fluid retention, and one study published in March 2004 found salt “might be associated particularly with raised progesterone level and could be correlated to increased weight gain and other premenstrual symptoms.”
- Sugar. Dr. Susan Lark authored the PMS: Premenstrual Syndrome Self-Help Book, and she notes that “many women crave sugar intensely during the second half of their menstrual cycles.” When eaten, sugar results in blood-sugar spikes followed by precipitious drops. Moreover, it may exacerbate anxiety and irritability and lead to more sugar cravings resulting in a vicious cycle.
PMS symptoms may be improved or worsened by a woman’s food choices. If a women consumes alcohol, caffeine, fat, salt, and sugar, she may be more likely to suffer PMS symptoms. It therefore seems to make sense that eating the right foods may lessen or alleviate PMS symptoms. To learn more, read, PMS Foods to Eat.