Diet and premenstrual syndrome
Many women, mostly aged 25-35, suffer from the so-called premenstrual syndrome - PMS. It is not a disease, but a set of symptoms, both physical and psychological, and very often even behavioral. The cause of this phenomenon is not fully understood, but it is most likely related to the genetic system. It is known that sex hormones are responsible for the mechanism of PMS. Symptoms appear in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle and disappear with menstruation. Female sex hormones - estradiol and progesterone, in the above-mentioned phase of the cycle, affect the central nervous system. The production of i.a. serotonin, the so-called happiness hormone, is reduced and its deficiency is observed.
The symptoms of premenstrual syndrome are very diverse and may occur with different intensity in every woman.
PMS is diagnosed only when a woman meets the following 5 conditions, i.e. appears in her:
- one or more psychological or physical symptoms in the period from 5 days before menstruation and passing up to 4 days after its occurrence
- the symptoms do not appear in the follicular phase (starts on the first day of menstruation)
- symptoms occur to a moderate or severe degree, making it difficult for the woman to function in society and in the family and causing great physical and/or psychological discomfort
- symptoms occur in most menstrual cycles
- the symptoms are not an exacerbation of existing mental disorders or other diseases e.g. endometriosis, autoimmune disease (Hashimoto's), thyroid disorders
Women with PMS are more likely to develop depressive conditions or even depression. That is why it is so important to diagnose the syndrome and implement appropriate therapy. That is why it is so important to diagnose the syndrome and implement appropriate therapy.
In the first place, it is recommended to use all possible non-pharmacological methods, viz:
- increase physical activity - it does not have to be difficult and many hours of exercise. Physical activity, in this case, is aimed at relaxing and loosening up the body. Even a 30-minute walk will have a beneficial effect.
- 5 days before menstruation it is worth reducing salt intake, which retains water in the body. In the luteal phase, swelling often occurs as a result of water retention in the body.
- It is also recommended to increase the supply of products which are a good source of tryptophan, which is a precursor for serotonin. This will help prevent deficiencies of this hormone, characteristic of this phase of the cycle. Products rich in tryptophan are e.g. dark chocolate, bananas, milk, white cheese.
- Adequate supply of magnesium - alleviates PMS symptoms. Its sources are pumpkin seeds, buckwheat groats, spinach, kale, dark chocolate, wheat germ, wholemeal flours.
- Adequate supply of vitamin D - reduces the risk of PMS. The demand for it is covered by the skin synthesis under the influence of the sun, and among food products it can be found in some mushrooms (boletus, chanterelles), fish (mackerel, tuna, salmon), eggs, yellow cheese.
- An adequate supply of calcium in the form of natural yogurt, kefir, cow's milk, cottage cheese.
An adequate supply of fluids, i.e. about 2 litres a day.
Currently there is not much research on specific recommendations for premenstrual syndrome that would relieve its symptoms. The syndrome itself is also not diagnosed very often, but the discomfort associated with it is felt by most women. In the week before menstruation, a large proportion of them notice an increased desire for chocolate, which some authors believe to be our body's natural reaction to the increased need for magnesium and tryptophan. These speculations are not fully confirmed and researched, but the studies that have already appeared confirm that the above mentioned elements of the diet can weaken the symptoms of PMS.
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