Foods That Fight PMS

Karen Kwan
Written by Karen Kwan

What’s worse for many of us is not “that time of the month” but the time leading up to it – aka PMS. The cramps, the bloating, the nausea, the mood swings. And although you’re craving things like cake, chocolate and chips, if you eat these salty and sugary foods, you’ll only worsen your symptoms—high-salt intake will make you bloat up more, for example.

You probably know you should steer clear of those junk foods regardless, but did you know that you can eat certain foods to help alleviate some of your PMS symptoms? Keep this list in mind on your next grocery trip and the week before getting your period may become much less painful.

Yogurt, cheese and vitamin D-enriched foods
Load up on dairy and other calcium-rich foods. In a research study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, diets rich in calcium and vitamin D-enriched foods were linked women experiencing PMS symptoms less often. To get your D, be sure to stock up on fortified milk and fortified orange juice (also, since there are few food sources of vitamin D, considering taking supplements of 1,000 IU daily).

Keep on blending up smoothies with bananas in them and slicing it up for your cereal because this potassium-rich fruit can help reduce both cramping and bloating. Other foods packed with potassium? Kidney beans (why not make a soup or dip out of white kidney beans?) and avocados, so you should also plan for a Mexican dinner. And everyone’s favourite summertime fruit, watermelon, too, is rich in this mineral.

Spinach, along with other leafy greens such as kale, offer magnesium, which can help reduce your mood swings and headaches. Plan to nosh on salads and pestos made from these greens or bake up some tasty kale chips to snack on.

Sweet potatoes
If you want to feel better, it makes sense that you’d want to increase the levels of serotonin in your brain (serotonin being the feel-good hormone). This root vegetable is high in vitamin A, which is a known serotonin booster. Bake (don’t fry) some sweet potato fries, or make a mash as a side dish to your salmon (another great food to eat to reduce your PMS symptoms – read on!).

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help balance mood and reduce cramping, and fatty fish such as salmon are some of the best sources for these essential fatty acids. Other sources include flax seed and walnuts—non-fish options for those of you who are vegetarian or vegan.

About the author

Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Flare, Elle Canada and, Glow, Metro, Huffington Post Canada, Travelife and Travel + Escape. She also runs her blog,, where she writes about health, beauty, fitness and lifestyle.

1 Comment

  • I have often wondered how much of our processed food lifestyle has caused all the allergies and sensitivities we see today. The foods you have listed are great any time of the month! I feel for anyone with PMS. I know it can cause a great deal of pain as well as a strain on relationships.

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