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    12 Ways To Fight PMS Cravings continued...

    Avoid processed sugar
    Simple sugars increase insulin secretion, which lowers blood sugar, Lark explains. And if insulin levels shoot up enough, your appetite for carbs and fats increases.

    Try foods high in essential fatty acids
    Food high in essential fatty acids, such as salmon or safflower or canola oil mayonnaise, "slow absorption of carbs, stabilize the blood sugar, and stop cravings in their tracks," Lark says. Try tuna with a little low-fat canola-oil mayo on a rice cake, she says, or a couple of tablespoons of flax meal in a protein shake.

    Drink plenty of water
    Eight or so glasses of water a day help to flush the body out and reduce bloating, Peeke says.

    Shun salt
    Not only will a diet low in salt reduce bloating and fluid retention, but it also can help reduce your risk of high blood pressure, Wurtman says.

    Avoid fat
    "Fat slows down digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. And you won't feel better until your body absorbs the carbs and turns them into serotonin," Wurtman explains.

    Limit coffee and cola
    Reduce caffeine intake to feel less tense and irritable and to ease breast soreness, advises the American Association of Family Physicians (AAFP).

    Cut meals in half
    Eating up to six small meals a day instead of three larger ones can help keep blood sugar more stable, which will cut back on carvings, Lark says. This strategy can help you lose weight even when you don't have PMS, adds Goldstein, noting that Americans tend to continue eating until their plates are clean, long after they are full.

    Avoid stress
    "Figure out about when you'll be premenstrual and avoid scheduling any stressful obligations, such as a speech or dinner with the in-laws," Wurtman advises. Anything that exacerbates stress fuels yearnings for high-calorie comfort foods, such as mashed potatoes smothered in butter.

    Abstain from alcohol
    Drinking before your period can make you feel more depressed, according to the AAFP. Plus, alcohol can deplete the body of PMS-thwarting vitamin B and disrupt the metabolism of carbohydrates.

    Get plenty of sleep
    Noting that lack of sleep makes you more irritable and even less likely to exercise control over your diet, experts recommend eight hours a night. Plus, studies have shown that people who sleep through the night live longer.

    Have a routine
    Keeping to a regular schedule of meals, bedtime, and exercise will help alleviate systems of PMS, according to the AAFP.

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