Dietary Guidelines and Tips to Fight the Bloating and Blues of PMS (Pre Menstrual Syndrome)
There are a few fortunate women who know nothing about PMS. However 80-90 % of us have a bad time, anything between 5-10 days before a period. There are many PMS symptoms but the most frequently experienced is a feeling of bloated ness, suddenly you feel huge and heavy and the second is some food craving. The craving can be chocolates, sugar, large amounts of carbohydrate foods (bread, rice, biscuits) or very spicy, salty, fried foods.
For some these symptoms are mild, and manageable. For others it can be so severe that their whole life, routine and control is thrown completely out of gear. Before I explain how to deal with it I would first advice you to try and share what you go through with your husband or a good friend who understands so that you at least have a hand to hold and support you through those days. I would also like to point out that those suffering from PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease) or a hormonal imbalance may experience all the symptoms at a more intense or magnified level and may require help from a gynecologist too.
The first step is to keep a calendar and track your menstrual cycle exactly every month so you know when the bad time is coming and can be prepared for it. What is happening is that, there is a fluid retention in the body at this time due to a change in hormones. This makes you feel dull, lethargic and depressed. Then you want to comfort yourself and you tend to reach out for chocolates, sweets, larger quantity of bread, rice, roti or spicy food or munch stuff like chips and fries. Sometimes itís also a result of a message from the body that there is break down of tissue and blood so replacement of that needs more food.
Here are some safe choices and guide lines:-
The first step is not to cut down water intake. Infact try and drink more water which will pump out the extra water in your body, flush out toxic wastes and keep you fresh.
Keep added salt and sugar intake down as well as avoid canned foods and Chinese dishes at this time as they are high in their salt content and will increase the bloated feeling.
Don't give in to sweets but you may increase your fresh fruit intake at this time.
Also control that urge to take more and more rice or roti. Eat the regular quantity and increase the quantity of salad or add a glass of buttermilk to the meal.
Those who crave for a chocolate should try to satisfy this craving by adding a teaspoon of drinking chocolate in skimmed milk but resist the chocolate.
Try to avoid rice items like idli, dosa, rice, avalakki (poha) and puffed rice (bhel) at this time as they increase the bloating. Stick to whole wheat bread, cornflakes, oats and wheat roti at meals for these few days.
For those who want some thing crisp and spicy I would suggest toasted whole wheat bread with spicy green chutney, coriander and mint, with some grated salad to top it up. Green chutney on cucumber or carrot sticks to munch on is also a good idea. Strictly avoid papad and pickles as they are very high in their salt content and will increase the bloating.
Some keep popping toffees or mints into their mouth. Each toffee is 3 teaspoons of sugar at a time, so avoid.
Also colas which are 7 tsp of sugar for 300ml and similarly alcohol must be avoided as the sudden increase in sugar concentration causes more water retention and bloating.
Keep your protein intake up as this keeps you feeling full and strengths and builds tissue. Try to eat an egg or 2 egg whites at breakfast. Even an egg white sandwich with whole-wheat bread in between as a snack can help. Gram flour cheelas (chapatti), adai, channa dhal curry, etc. and plenty of skimmed milk is helpful.
Last but not the least is "Never miss your WALK". Due to the bloated ness and heaviness many are tempted to skip their walk. Please force yourself to walk, as walking relieves stress, helps you to sweat out some water and most of all balances your hormones. A 25-30 minutes walk is a must during PMS.