For most of us, PMS just feels like an inevitable monthly inconvenience—irrational outbursts, zero tolerance to anyone and anything, and an overwhelming need to consume chocolate in frightening quantities. And while it may seem like our body NEEDS sugar, sugar, and more sugar when we're in full on bitch-mode, indulging your inner cookie monster can actually make the symptoms of PMS worse.
But there are foods that support our hormones in the right way to help alleviate and even stop PMS in its tracks. So before you reach for the tub of ice cream, try these:
Spinach is full of magnesium, which has a very important role to play in female hormone balance. Studies have shown women who suffer with PMS have lower blood levels of magnesium compared to those who don't display any symptoms. Just one cup of raw spinach provides 40% of your daily recommended value, so throw it into your salads, omelettes, or smoothies.
2. Wild Salmon
Bursting with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, wild salmon helps ease cramps and period pains. It also provides the best dietary source of vitamin D, which has been found, in conjunction with calcium (which salmon also contains), to reduce the symptoms of PMS.
3. Brown Rice
Brown rice contains a winning trio of magnesium, vitamin B6, and manganese, all of which work like magic to help ease PMS symptoms. Manganese levels in women are known to fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle, and boosting your levels may help to reduce irritability and tension, too. Other manganese-rich foods include nuts and seeds, whole grains (buckwheat, bulgur wheat, and oats), and legumes.
4. Sweet Potato
Sweet potato is a great source of vitamin B6, which has been found to help ease many PMS symptoms including irritability, depression, and mood swings. Vitamin B6 plays a vital part in synthesizing the brain's "feel good" chemicals dopamine and serotonin, which control mood and behavior. Try sweet potato chips for the ultimate feel-good comfort food.
5. Natural Yogurt
One large study found a diet with calcium-rich dairy products lowered the risk for developing PMS by as much as 40%. Woah! If you're not into dairy, nuts, seeds, and green leafy vegetables (broccoli, spinach, and kale) are all packed with calcium too.
6. Nuts and Seeds
These should be your snacks of choice around your period. Packed full of protein, fiber, and an array of nutrients, they provide a slow-release energy source, keep blood sugar levels balanced, and boost "feel good" serotonin levels. Choose almonds and pumpkin seeds which are some of the richest sources of vitamin E, which is beneficial for sore boobs and period cramps.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.