To borrow a line from a George Michael song, here comes one for the ladies.
Are there really foods which fight PMS or are we doomed to a life of monthly bloating, cramps and mood swings?
PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is a collection of symptoms experienced by women in the weeks before menstruation. Running, or indeed any exercise, is known to relieve some PMS symptoms, but realistically sometimes the thought of getting out for a run is not appealing when you feel bloated, lethargic and tearful.
Thankfully there are some proven PMS-fighting foods which can alleviate monthly suffering.
Is rich in calcium, an important mineral not only for women in general but particularly for runners and especially during the second half of the menstrual cycle. Research has found women with lower levels of calcium at time of ovulation are more likely to be affected by PMS symptoms such as mood fluctuations and bloating. The studies found increasing calcium in the diet resulted in a reduction of these PMS symptoms for these women.
Complex carbohydrates, such as oats, brown rice and quinoa, are known to boost the 'happy' feel-good hormone serotonin which helps to balance mood and reduce feelings of anxiety. Oats are also rich in other nutrients proven to support symptoms of PMS, including magnesium, manganese and vitamin B6, as well as being a good source of soluble fibre which can help reduce monthly bloating and constipation.
Is a good source of the mineral magnesium, which is so important for good hormone balance and reducing anxiety. Many women are low in magnesium and become further depleted in the second half of the menstrual cycle resulting in heightened PMS symptoms. A little bit of good-quality dark chocolate can help boost magnesium levels and balance hormones. Other sources of magnesium include dark leafy green veg, lentils and chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, and fish.
Join my Eat Well, Run Strong Facebook group
Helen Morton, runner and food lover, sharing latest nutrition research and recipes.