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PMS Health Center

8 Diet Dos and Don'ts to Ease PMS

These strategies may help curb PMS symptoms.
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6. Don't overlook salt.

Since nearly everything that comes in a bottle, bag, package, or can is loaded with salt, it's almost impossible to eliminate sodium. But slashing some of it may reduce the uncomfortable bloating and water retention from PMS, Somer says.

To halt the salt, focus on whole foods, rather than overly processed or convenience foods, because sodium is often added during manufacturing. "And if you can't cut back enough, drink lots of water," Somer says, so your body can get rid of the excess sodium. 

7. Do consider supplements.

Besides encouraging her patients to eat a healthy diet, Kolp also recommends that they first treat PMS symptoms with a combination of exercise, stress reduction, and some supplements.

She suggests a daily multivitamin, 100 milligrams of vitamin B-6 a day, 600 milligrams of calcium carbonate with vitamin D daily, along with at least one calcium-rich food serving, as well as 400 milligrams of magnesium oxide.

Taking B-6 and magnesium at these levels may temper mood changes, and magnesium may reduce water retention.

As always, tell your doctor about any supplements you're taking to avoid any possible drug interactions, and let her know if PMS is causing you a lot of problems.

8. Don't ignore other lifestyle habits.

There's some evidence that maintaining a healthy body weight may help prevent PMS, and that overweight or obese women are more likely to have symptoms.  Being physically active helps keep your waistline in check and works wonders to release stress.

"Stress plays a huge role in the intensity of PMS symptoms," Kolp tells WebMD. So find ways to relax your mind, whether it's exercising, deep breathing, or doing yoga.

Feeling tired is yet another sign of PMS, so you might need more sleep than usual. Lastly, ditch the butts: A recent study showed that smoking, especially in your teens or early 20s, may increase a woman's risk for moderate to severe PMS.

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Reviewed on May 18, 2011

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