Regaining Control of PMS!!!
Despite its potential power to help you beat a murder rap, PMS is typically not something most women enjoy every month. Nor do their families. Synthetic hormones may have been the easy answer for regaining control of PMS for some – until they found out the synthetic stuff may help with physical symptoms but do nothing for that inner rage.
That’s where the murder rap would come in. That’s also where you get an alternative: Regaining control of your life and your emotions in a natural way that is as good for your body as it is for your family.
Fluctuating hormone levels are one of the major culprits behind PMS symptoms, particularly when you’re stuck with excess estrogen. (1) The excess may come from a stagnancy in your body, such as lack of regular bowel movements that lets poisons build up or hindered blood circulation due to inadequate water that helps flush out both toxins and extra hormones. Your great cleansing organ, the liver, can also be falling behind in its cleansing duties, resulting in even more buildup and imbalance.
So what do you do? Treat your body with the TLC it needs to help balance your hormones and decrease your physical PMS symptoms. Do the same with your mind to reduce the stress that can also contribute to PMS. Natural methods can be the key, starting with the food you eat.
Fun with Fiber
Just as your liver is the great cleanser, fiber is the great emancipator. (2) It can free up your intestines quicker than you can say “I could have sworn there was another roll of paper in here.” Don’t fret; you can control your intake. Adding natural fiber to your diet is simply by eating more fiber-rich foods. Fiber-happy fruits and veggies include apples, beans, carrots, peas and citrus fruits. Choose whole wheat breads, flour and pastas; up your oats, bran and barley intake.
In addition to helping you eliminate waste, fiber comes with benefits that include lowering your blood cholesterol levels, helping with weight loss and keeping your blood sugar levels in check. (2)
Too much sugar in your system can certainly throw off your hormones with not-so-sweet results. You don’t have to eat table sugar by the spoonful, either. The blame may lie in too many carbohydrates or the wrong types of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are necessary to fuel your body with energy, but all that energy can backfire if you end up with a huge sugar rush that dissolves as quickly as it began, leaving you lower than when you started. (3)
Refined flour and grains can be to blame, which means white bread, white rice and white pasta. Processed cereal, potatoes and sugar-laden beverages can also throw your sugar balance into overload. (3). Instead choose carbs like those whole grains that also give you fiber and make sure your diet is balanced with a sufficient supply of other nutrients, namely proteins and fats.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to eat a cow – or even any red meat. You can get your protein from nuts, fish, poultry and beans. Don’t forget the joy of soy and good ole tofu! Proteins can make you feel fuller, increase your energy levels and even help you retain lean muscle if you’re trying to lose weight. (3)
Fat rounds out the list of beneficial nutrients, even if the very word simply makes you shudder. The trick with fats is to go for the “good” fats and not the “bad” fats. The type of fat you choose is even more important than how much of it you eat. Trans fats and saturated fats fall into the “bad” category. This is the type you typically get from red meat, ice cream, cheese and other dairy products.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the good stuff. (3) They come from olive oil and other plant oils, fish, nuts, and ghee. If you thought tofu was fun, just wait until you starting using ghee, a healthy and clarified form of butter.
Your liver plays a part in PMS, thanks to its stellar ability to cleanse your system and covert hormones. A healthy liver is designed to easily kick toxins out of your system and convert your thyroid hormone thyroxin into its active form, known as tri-iodothyronine. (4) Tri-iodothyronine regulates your temperature so your body’s biochemical reactions occur as nature meant them to.
When your liver is clogged up, however, it slogs down, leaving your system streaming with unwanted toxins and messing up the biochemical reactions. Welcome to the side effects. They include memory loss, chronic fatigue and weight gain, just to name a few.
Substances that contribute to the clogging and slogging include alcohol, caffeine, junk foods packed with trans-fatty acids and rancid fats of the type found in potato chips and French fries. You don’t have to go all-out with a liver detox diet, although that is always an option, but you can help keep your liver cleansed with lemon juice, beets and plenty of water.
Avoiding a host of other goodies can also help reduce the symptoms of PMS. Near the top of the list is xenoestrogens, which are chemicals similar to natural estrogen compounds that can mess with your natural estrogen’s functioning. (5)
Because they are in the soil, air and even your food, you cannot avoid them altogether. But you can limit your exposure to the little buggers by going for organic foods to avoid chemical herbicides and animals fed hormones to make them bigger. Pay attention to your shampoo, lotions and other body products, as they may contain xenoestrogens. Never use plastic in the microwave. (6)
Now that your body is up to speed with PMS avoidance, it’s time to work on your mind. Stress can exacerbate your PMS, so make it your priority to reduce it. (1) Stress busters include getting adequate sleep, deep-breathing and progressive muscle relaxation exercises, yoga and massage. Heck, go for a whole day or week of this stuff by firing your husband and kids and taking time to take care of yourself. Not only do you deserve it, but they’ll probably thank you when they see the amazing results a little natural self-TLC can do for PMS.
1. Premenstrual Syndrome. Mayo Clinic Web site. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/premenstrual-syndrome/DS00134/DSECTION. Published Jan. 18, 2012. Accessed June 18, 2012.
2. Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet. Mayo Clinic Web site. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fiber/NU00033. Published Nov. 19, 2009. Accessed June 18, 2012.
3. Beyond Willpower: Diet Quality and Quantity Matter. Harvard School of Public Health Web site. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-causes/diet-and-weight/index.html. Accessed June 18, 2012.
4. The relationships between the thyroid gland and the liver. QJM (2002) 95 (9): 559-569.doi: 10.1093/qjmed/95.9.559. http://qjmed.oxfordjournals.org/content/95/9/559.full. Accessed June 18, 2012.
5. Sirakov M. Xenoestrogens–danger for the future generations?. Akush Ginekol (Sofiia). 2004; 43(4): 39-45. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15318543. Accessed June 18, 2012.
6. Horne Steven. Protecting Yourself from Xenoestrogens. Four Winds Nutrition Club Web site. Accessed June 18, 2012