1. Track your cycles - tracking your cycle with a period tracker app can let you know when your period is coming. This can give you more awareness around your moods and allows you to be gentle and understanding with yourself (note: try and avoid conflict during this time!) The Seed iPhone tracker will help you know when your period is coming, identify your fertile window and also give you recipes and tips to help manage symptoms.
2. Prioritise sleep - ensure you are getting a good 8 hours sleep every night to help keep your cortisol in check. When you don't get enough sleep, your stress and cortisol levels rise which affects the production of the hormone progesterone which is essential for reducing PMS.
3. Supplement - consider magnesium, B6, zinc and good quality fish oils. Magnesium and B-vitamins are commonly deficient in busy or stressed people and supplementation will usually improve energy, focus and mood. Fish oils help to balance hormones and minimize PMS but be sure to look for a good quality brand and aim to take 6000mg daily. For doses and the best types of other supplements, check out the Supplement section in the Seed iPhone app.
4. Reduce stress - Meditation is a great way to boost mood, promote clarity and reduce stress. The good news is that you can learn quick and simple meditation techniques that can be practiced between meetings or before work to calm your mind and enhance your mind. Try starting with ten deep, slow breaths. Hold each breathe for a few seconds before gently exhaling. This simple exercise helps to push your body into the parasympathetic nervous system which is essential for stress reduction.
5. Fresh, unprocessed whole foods are essential for mood and hormonal health. Studies have shown that people consuming high fiber fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds have better health and mood than those consuming more processed foods. Get in touch with your food and your health by heading down to your local farmers market on the weekend to pick up your fresh foods. Aim to consume seven different types of vegetables daily which should equal around 5 cups of fresh veggies!
6. Ditch the bad stuff - unfortunately for many of us, sugar, caffeine and alcohol will definitely make your PMS worse. Try cleaning up your diet for a month and see the difference for yourself. Do this by planning your meals and snacks and drinking plenty of water. Try following the recipes and meal suggestions in the Seed iPhone app for more inspiration.
7. Increase your leafy greens – vegetables such as spinach, asparagus and kale contain high levels of folate which is involved in the production of feel-good neurotransmitters such as serotonin. Around 50% of people have problems absorbing the synthetic folic acid found in most over-the-counter supplements, making leafy greens a daily must have (if this is a concern for you, ask your Naturopath to test you for MTHFR to assess the way your body absorbs and utilizes folic acid).
About the Author:
Belinda Kirkpatrick is a qualified Naturopath and Nutritionist with a Masters in Reproductive Health and over a decade of clinical experience in helping women improve their fertility and enjoy a healthy pregnancy. She is also the creator of the Seed iPhone App for women’s health.
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