PMS

10 March 2016

How eating more meat may help your PMS

A 10-year-long study has revealed some interesting facts about iron, potassium and other minerals that might impact the development of PMS.

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Are you struggling with severe PMS? It’s a reality for millions of women and the cramps, nausea and other symptoms can be debilitating. 

Read: Endometriosis: disease of the modern woman

A possible solution: introducing iron-rich food (meat, fish and poultry) as well as supplements in your diet, maybe a good solution. A study, published in The American Journal of Epidemiology, done over 10 years with more than 3,000 women, has found that dietary iron may reduce the risk for premenstrual syndrome, while intake of potassium-rich foods like bananas and potatoes may increase it. These findings came after researchers studied 1,057 women with PMS and 1,968 control subjects. 

Read: Antioxidants to spice up your health

Does this mean that you should throw away all your bananas and eat all the meat, fish and other proteins that you can lay your hands on?

The senior author of the study – which took place at the University of Massachusetts – Elizabeth R. Bertone-Johnson warned against taking too much iron or consuming too little potassium because both of these changes in behaviour can be harmful, so hang onto to those potatoes and just eat everything in moderation. “Eating a balanced diet with a variety of foods,” she said, “is a good way to ensure that women are consuming important vitamins and minerals.” But how do you achieve the right balance?

Read: 10 superfoods you absolutely must include in your diet

Health24 spoke to Cape Town-based nutritional therapist Katherine Tudsbury about lessening painful PMS and nutrition; she gave these helpful tips: 

“Obviously if there is nothing sinister going on and they have been checked by a doctor, then the best thing would be to eat a hormone balancing diet which is high in protein (organic meat and dairy sources which are not going to contain synthetic hormones), healthy omega 3 fats, and low in processed or refined sugars and carbohydrates. This must also include plenty of green and cruciferous vegetables, which contain compounds that will help the body to clear excess oestrogen from the body.” 

Read: Slimming down may affect your vitamin D levels

The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends 18 milligrams of iron daily for women 19 to 50, and 4,700 milligrams of potassium a day for all adults.

Read more:

How potassium fights high blood pressure
When menstrual periods go on and on
High-protein diets: are they safe?