4 Lifestyle changes you can make to help your PMS
Natural remedies for PMS and reducing PMS symptoms is not just about treating the symptoms. We need to look deeper at the menstrual cycle, by tracking your cycle and tracking very specific symptoms can give us clues as to what imbalances occur with your hormones.
100 DAYS TILL BETTER PERIODS
But for now you can start a journey to better health. Your lifestyle and dietary choices impact your overall health, but specifically here, they affect your menstrual cycle health.
Your follicles (the eggs that ovulate are inside the follicles) have a 100-day journey of maturation before they ovulate and it’s the health of these follicles that determine hormone (oestrogen and progesterone) production.
And the health of your follicles depends on what you do in those 100 days to improve or hinder their health. Because of this 100-day maturation, it can take 3-4 months to see noticeable improvements in your menstrual cycle and symptoms. If you start today, then expect an improvement in 100 days.
Part 2 of the PMS series suggested 6 likely causes for PMS which are:
- Hormone imbalance/ withdrawal
- Neurotransmitter imbalance
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Environmental toxin
Natural remedies for PMS simply include making changes to your lifestyle. If you can improve:
- Systemic inflammation
- Reduce stress in your life
- Eat nutrient-dense foods, and
- Remove environmental toxins
your body will have a better chance at balancing hormone production, and as seen in Part 2, better hormones production results in better neurotransmitter production.
So lets look at natural remedies for PMS and lifestyle changes you can adopt to achieve better hormone balance and address natural remedies for PMS.
Inflammation starts in the digestive system. When we eat foods that cause inflammation to the small intestines it causes permeability (leaky gut). This means that larger food particles escape out of the digestive tract, where they do not belong, and into the blood. The immune system responds to these foreign particles and the immune system is activated and inflammation is a result.
Because you eat 3-6 times a day, you could be causing this reaction over and over again, simply by the foods you are eating. The most common inflammatory foods are gluten and dairy. Among others are soy, corn, eggs and nuts.
The best way to see if these foods have an affect is to eliminate them for 2-3 months, reintroduce them and see how you feel. Many women are surprised with the results, in a good way, of course.
Stress impacts every part of our health. FULLSTOP. But how do we avoid stress in our modern society. This will be different according to your personal circumstances. But look at your life and its categories, I bet you could re-arrange things, drop things, get a little extra help here and there to reduce your stress.
But what’s important is learning to turn the stress response off and I’ve compiled a small list of activities that are known to help:
- Doing things you love
- Deep breathing
- Meditation and/ or guided imagery
- Setting a morning intention and repeating it every morning
- Progressive muscle relaxation – tensing and relaxing each part of your body separately.
Consume a nutrient-rich diet
No studies have shown that changing diet improves PMS, but clinically we observe great improvements along with a holistic treatment. A healthy follicle requires lots of nutrients and great nutrition, which results in better hormone production. So:
- Removing foods that are empty calories and do not have a lot of nutrients is the first point of call. These include: refined sugars, processed and packaged foods.
- Consuming 5 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit every day for lots of nutrients, fibre, antioxidants and phytonutrients.
- At every meal, including a protein, good-quality fat and the right kinds of carbohydrates to balance blood sugar levels.
- Eating good quality fats to build cholesterol, as this is the building block for all our sex hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) as well as being a good source of fat-soluble vitamins, which are necessary for menstrual cycle health.
- Consuming adequate amounts of protein daily. Proteins are important for many bodily functions but specific for moods, protein is needed for neurotransmitter production.
- Reducing caffeine – this has been shown in studies to increase the prevalence and severity of PMS symptoms.
- Nutrient-rich foods looks like this – vegetables and fruits, gluten-free grains, pasture-fed meats, wild-caught fish, organic poultry, eggs, bone-broths, butter, coconut oil etc. In my book “Know Your Flow” I have a whole chapter on foods to include and foods to avoid for a better menstrual cycle. It goes into depth why these foods are good or bad for your hormones. For more info, you can purchase here.
Reduce environmental toxins to support detoxification
Chemicals these days are unavoidable, so a reduction is paramount for our hormones. Being exposed to so many chemicals every day that mimic oestrogen can be problematic if we are trying to balance hormones.
These chemical hormones place extra burden on our liver to detoxify and remove them, that sometime leaves the body/ liver struggling to metabolise our own oestrogen. So removing as many as possible will assist greatly. Chemicals you want to avoid include: BPA, BPS, phthalates, POPs etc.
Ways to decrease these chemicals are as follows:
- Avoid using plastic for storing and cooking
- Using glass, ceramic and stainless steel
- Avoid tinned cans with BPA lining
- Switch to organic make-up, personal hair products
- Switch to natural, home-made housecleaners
- Throw away air fresheners, sprays and scented candles
- Eat organic where ever possible
Too many changes at once can be overwhelming, so start small and start with one change at a time. My book “Know Your Flow” has more detailed information and additional suggestions to help you on your way to better hormonal health. Taking natural remedies for PMS will be much more effective if you have addressed these lifestyle changes first.
Sometime having support along the way to improve your health can be beneficial. As a naturopath I’m here if you ever need. I offer Skype consults so location isn’t a problem. Look forward to hearing from you.