So it's approaching that time of month again and the cravings have kicked in for a good four days. I admittedly have gone to the store for my monthly supplies and have gotten to the checkout aisle with feminine products, Midol and a chocolate bar. The clerk just laughed at me when I said, “I don’t know why I am in the mood for chocolate.” However, many experts agree, the food we often crave are the same foods that make our symptoms worse.
So what exactly is PMS? According to The American College of Obstetricians Gynecologists, “An estimate of at least 85 percent of menstruating women have at least one PMS symptom as part of their monthly cycle." Those symptoms can include: fatigue, breast tenderness, sleeplessness, anxiousness, depression, body aches, stomach discomfort, bloating and food cravings.
Chocolate is a common craving and contains two main ingredients we should try to avoid, caffeine and sugar. Research shows that caffeine can heighten your levels of estrogen contributing greatly to your premenstrual syndrome commonly known as PMS. Sugar can also cause you to spike your insulin levels and then send you crashing into a slump.
If you want the sweet, chances are you want the salty. If you head for the chips, be ready for that bloated, uncomfortable feeling to only get worse. Additional salt and sodium will only increase your water retention. You also want to avoid greasy fast foods. The extra saturated fat and additional sodium will only aggravate your symptoms.
Be proactive when it comes to PMS. You could quite possibly be deficient in some essential vitamins and minerals which could be contributing to your cravings. My OBGYN got me started several years ago on making sure I get enough Vitamin B6. I honestly notice a difference in how I feel and how much water I retain. B6 can also be found in lean poultry and seafood. Snacking on healthy nuts and a banana can also help you ward off the menstrual munchies.
Snack on those veggies, too. Many of them contain Vitamin C and complex carbohydrates which also ward off cravings. Being proactive about your health is important. I happened to find out that I am low in folic acid, which is essential for women of child bearing age. Some research also shows that folic acid can help alleviate PMS symptoms. Make sure you check with your doctor to see what specific regimen could work for you.
Joanne Sgro is a Television Fitness Expert, Certified Personal Trainer and Sport Nutritionist. She is Certified in Pilates, Pre-natal/Post-Partum, Yoga and Senior Fitness. She specializes in Weight Loss, Post-Rehab and Post Cancer Training. Joanne's fitness plans and recipes are available globally on her website www.fitnessanswer.com. She resides in the Phoenix, AZ area with her fiancé where she runs her personal training business, Fitness Answer, LLC.