Due to excess stress, environmental toxins, and endocrine disruptors, most of us experience hormonal imbalances intermittently throughout our lifetimes. As we age, the high-sugar, low-protein, minimal sleep/high-toxin lifestyle of our youth is no longer tolerated by our overburdened systems. We begin to require regularity in all areas of our life to nourish and balance our constitution in order to thrive vibrantly like we once did.
There are several remedies and tools that work to re-regulate our body systems to reduce pms symptoms, increase energy, boost libido, and enhance fertility. As each of us is unique, we all require slightly different protocols to re-align and heal, even so, the following considerations can offer radical transformation for most.
Here are some things to consider when it comes to your rebalancing your diet and lifestyle:
Support the lymph System ::: The lymphatic system is a complicated network of fluid-filled nodes, vessels, glands and organs that are present throughout the body. Although we may not see or feel it, the lymphatic system is a key detoxification pathway. It cleanses toxins and protects us against harmful invaders. It works by carrying toxins away from the tissues and into the bloodstream, where it can be filtered by two of the body’s main detoxification organs: the liver and kidneys. Support lymphatic detoxification by properly hydrating throughout the day, exercising daily, dry brushing, rebounding, getting regular massages and using breathwork techniques or practicing breath focused forms of yoga. It’s also imperative that we keep our detoxification pathways clean by cleansing seasonally with whole foods, focused self-care routines, spiritual practice, and stress reduction.
Increase Protein ::: Start every day with healthy fats & proteins. Think -A blueberry based smoothie with protein powder & coconut mct oil + cinnamon or eggs & greens + avocado. Include protein at every meal and never go longer than 3 hours without eating. Eat well-balanced snacks by combining crunchy foods with healthy fats and protein rich foods like hummus, pesto, guacamole, hard-boiled eggs and nuts, paired with crunchy veggies. Reach for foods low on the glycemic index. These foods convert slowly to energy in the bloodstream, helping you feel more balanced. Low GI foods include low sugar fruits (like berries), low starch vegetables, nuts & seeds, + protein-rich foods. Consume more Complete proteins - Quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, spinach, tempeh, coconut yogurt, eggs, hemp seeds, goji berries, chia seeds, and most protein powders. When combined, the following food combinations make complete proteins; beans & rice, nuts and grains (oatmeal + nuts) Nuts & beans, lentils & rice.
Drink more water ::: When you do, extra salt leaves in your urine and will help stop swelling and bloating. Adequate water intake also ensures that you will be hydrated, eliminating regularly, and supporting the regulation of all body systems. Shoot for ½ your body weight in ounces daily!
Reduce caffeine intake ::: as it can cause blood sugar fluctuations and stress the adrenals. Caffeine is also highly stimulating to the nervous system and overconsumption increases cortisol and adrenalin production. Eliminating/reducing your intake will help to alleviate cramps, reduce internal stress, and decrease overall body tension. This will also give your adrenals a chance to rebalance and heal. Try this around your cycle and you will notice a dramatic shift.
Increase fiber ::: High-fiber foods like whole grains, legumes, cruciferous vegetables, and low sugar fruits will help the body to effectively eliminate excessive hormones from the intestines and liver, particularly estrogen. Cruciferous vegetables are high in indole-3 carbinol, which supports liver detoxification. These food sources are also loaded with protein and b-vitamins to nourish the endocrine system and support the adrenals.
Reduce/eliminate sugary snacks & processed foods ::: Cravings for sweets trend upward when you have pms, but cookies, sweets and processed foods send your blood sugar levels on a roller coaster ride. When you have a blood sugar crash later on, you’ll feel tired and irritable. Limiting your sugar supply sets the stage for steadier moods and stable blood sugar. Around your cycle, load up on sweet potatoes, which offer a natural source of sweetness and are high in antioxidants and fiber. Eat more avocados & bananas - Both are rich in potassium, which plays a huge role in keeping mood swings in check. This important mineral also helps to reduce fluid retention and decrease bloating. Lack of adequate potassium can lead to muscle cramping, which is possibly the worst symptom of all. In addition, b6 may improve mood, irritability, and breast tenderness.
Reduce salt ::: the week before your cycle and be sure you are using low-sodium, mineral-rich Himalayan salt. Too much salt increases fluid retention, creating excess bloating and fatigue. Processed foods such as canned soups and packaged snacks are especially high in sodium as well, so avoid them whenever possible. (Especially right around your cycle)
Use Herbal Support ::: Use ashwaganda as an adoptogenic hormone balancer that works to heal adrenals, rebalance hormones, and support restorative sleep. Ashwaganda is best in tincture form. Add in turmeric to help reduce inflammation during menses. Drink chamomile tea as it contains properties that relieve muscle spasms and may therefore help reduce the severity of menstrual cramps. In addition, chamomile also reduces tension that may lead to anxiety and irritability. Red Raspberry leaf tea remineralizes the body, is high in b-vitamins and tones the uterus, relieving menstrual cramping. Drinking Milk thistle and dandelion tea throughout the month also helps to keep the liver clean, enhances digestion, and supports blood sugar regulation..
Increase your mineral intake ::: Consume Magnesium-rich foods; Vital for regulating hundreds of functions in the body, magnesium plays an important role in preventing pms-related mood swings and irritability, breast tenderness, poor sleep, cramping, bloating and fluid retention, and headaches. Add more magnesium-rich foods to your diet, such as pumpkin seeds, dark leafy greens, figs, and bananas. Increase Iron-rich foods before and during your menses to replace what you’ve lost each month and to avoid anemia. High sources of iron include: beet root, spinach, dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, lentils, chickpeas, navy beans, kidney beans, olives, and nettle tea. Blackstrap molasses also contains 3.5 mg of iron per tablespoon, and has been used in folk medicine as a "blood builder" for centuries.