No salt, sugar or caffeine? We'd rather be grumpy. Here's what you can eat to satisfy preperiod hunger and help get rid of mood swings, bloat and cramps-fast!
TO MANAGE MOODS: Try magnesium. The mineral may reduce PMS-related mood swings by blocking neurotransmitters that rev up stress hormones, says Michelle Kleist, R.D., of Lexington, Kentucky. Each day, aim for 300 to 400 milligrams when you're PMSing. Some delicious sources include cooked spinach (1 cup contains 157 mg magnesium), artichokes (101 mg per cup) and a handful of almonds (about 75 mg).
TO BEAT BLOATING: Eat potassium-rich veggies like asparagus and fruit such as bananas, strawberries and melon. During PMS, your body retains sodium and water, says Kathy Egan, R.D., a nutrition consultant at Red Mountain Spa in St. George, Utah. Potassium can help balance sodium levels in your bloodstream and allows your system to flush out excess fluid, reducing bloat. Enjoy 2 or 3 one-cup servings daily.
TO CURTAIL CRAMPS: Consume calcium plus vitamin D. Premenstrual deficiencies in these two nutrients may cause painful muscle cramps. Your daily goal is to take in about 1,200 mg of calcium and 400 international units of vitamin D. Work foods like Whole Grain Total cereal (3/4 cup contains 1,000 mg calcium and 40 IU vitamin D) and fortified skim milk (302 mg calcium and 98 IU vitamin D per cup) into your diet.
TO QUIET CRAVINGS: Reach for healthy whole-grain carbohydrates. They activate production of serotonin, a mood-lifting brain chemical that is in low supply during your preperiod week-which may account for those cravings for carb-loaded goodies. Avoid the siren song of sweets, including doughnuts, cakes and cookies: Munch on popcorn or whole-grain crackers for relief without the extra calories, Kleist suggests.
MORE FROM SELF:
Superfoods for weight loss
20 foods that help rev your metabolism and curb cravings
Love the Earth!
31 easy ways to green your routine
Celebrity diet secrets!
How to look like an A-lister
- Subscribe to SELF for just $1 an issue. Free Pink Striped Tote!