Many women haven’t even scratched the surface of how beautifully our bodies work. Seriously, we know the basics and tend to take the ebb and flow of our hormones as just something we need to grin and bear. Often, answering the question ‘what’s wrong’ with a grimace and the answer that explains it all, PMS. Which is received with a sympathetic bow of the head. Cramps, moodiness, acne, fatigue, feeling sluggish and the list goes on. But there is hope, check out our tips on how to beat the PMS blues.
PMS: Just because its common doesn’t mean it’s normal
I listened to an eye-opening podcast with women’s hormone and functional nutrition expert Alisa Vitti. It made me realize that just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s normal.
Did you know that evolutionary women are not meant to be ‘out of action’ for phases of our cycle? Our bodies were designed to thrive no matter which time of the month. It sounds like a pipe dream, right?
It all boils down to working WITH your monthly cycle and not unknowingly, working against it. So, keep reading as we break down some of what every woman really MUST know. I encourage everyone to listen to Alisa Vitti’s podcasts. Click the link here. Jaw-dropping game-changer.
Ok, so how do I work with my hormones?
Now, the key is to eat the right food that helps your body produce adequate levels of the necessary hormones. As well as assist your body’s ability to break down and eliminate these hormones effectively. According to Alisa Vitta PMS symptoms often stem from an imbalance in the levels of your sex hormones called estrogen and progesterone.
What this means is that after you have ovulated, your estrogen levels are meant to drop and your progesterone levels rise. This is all starting to happen around 14 days before your next period. Women often start to feel PMS symptoms around 10 days before their period. Now, during this phase, our bodies should theoretically have higher progesterone levels. The hormone progesterone makes you feel calm, focused, and alert yet this is the polar opposite of what we feel during PMS.
This means that the PMS symptoms you experience such as acne during ovulation, crankiness, and fatigue are actually biofeedback from your body indicating that your system is struggling to effectively break down and eliminate estrogen. So the focus needs to be on eating patterns that support the natural detoxification in your system. Lifestyle factors such as sleep, exercise, and stress management techniques go hand in hand with diet changes to balance your hormones.
The power of food in improving PMS
Many of us underestimate the power that food has on our system. Where the truth is, that so many of these dreaded PMS symptoms can be eased with our food choices.
Yes, these changes won’t happen overnight BUT the awareness that food plays a huge role and starting to make small but steady changes is a strong start towards getting your hormones back on track.
Load up on the good stuff:
- Organic colorful vegetables
- Dark leafy greens
- Fresh fruit
- Hormone and antibiotic free meat
- Nuts and seeds
- Olive oil.
Veggies like cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, bok choy, and collard greens contain powerful antioxidants that boost your body’s detoxification process.
Your body’s calorie needs CHANGE!
In the second half of your cycle, called the Luteal phase, that starts approx. 14 days before your next period. Your body’s metabolism speeds up and your body needs more calories to function optimally. Let’s say this again, your body biologically NEEDS more nourishment during this phase. This is not the time to single-mindedly focus on the latest diet as trying to restrict, and eat less during this time will actually trigger your body to store fat and it causes your stress hormone, cortisol to be released. Which we don’t want. It becomes so important to listen to your body and if you are hungry, eat. More specifically eat natural, fresh whole foods that nourish your body.
What you avoid is just as important:
We want to avoid the known inflammatory foods such as:
- Conventional dairy
- Gluten (pizza, bagels, muffins)
- Seed oils (sunflower oil, canola oil, trans fats)
We have so much control over our body, our mood and our energy levels and what we choose to nourish our bodies with is the key!
Vitti, A., 2020. Biohacking the Female Body to Feel Amazing, Kick More Ass, and Have More Sex [Interview] (29 January 2020).
Vitti, A., 2020. Female Biohacking: Hormone Balancing, Morning Routines & Time Management with Alisa Vitti [Interview] (22 December 2020).