Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a common ailment among women in their 20s and 30s — 75 percent of women suffer from symptoms. While cramps, lower back pain, and belly bloating can be uncomfortable, one of the worst parts of PMS is when a mood swing strikes. Mayling Kajiya, plant-based-nutrition expert and founder of Girl Uninterrupted, shared some of her tips for making sure PMS doesn't take over and how to support your body's needs during this time.
Know when you're due: It seems simple, but knowing when your cycle is starting can be your best defense against major PMS mood swings. Mayling explains that anticipating your time of the month and knowing why you feel horrible will help you understand what your body is doing. When irritated feelings arise, you'll be able to connect them to your hormonal changes and not feel as out of control of the situation.
Get to the gym: When you're feeling "crappy, crampy, or annoyed" before your period, Mayling says "skip the Midol" and head to the gym or yoga class to feel better; working out is a natural painkiller, she adds. Even after a light workout, your mood will be lifted, and as a bonus, you'll feel less bloated because you worked up a sweat.
Keep reading for what to eat when PMS strikes.
Keep foods clean: It's essential for a healthy lifestyle and sustainable weight loss, but a clean diet also helps curb PMS symptoms! Enjoying natural foods is already some of the best fuel for your body whether or not your period is about to begin, but steering clear of caffeine overload or a big night of boozing helps keep PMS symptoms at bay. When you get PMS, "your hormones have really switched, and you are much more sensitive to stimulation," says Mayling. It's different for everyone, but staying away from your triggers before your period will make a big difference.
Have (a bite!) of chocolate: Mayling recommends chocolate because "it has a lot of chemicals and micronutrients that help lift your mood up." Your period doesn't have to be an excuse to constantly overindulge, but supporting your cravings with a clear, mindful approach will help you find balance all month long. Buy an individual square of chocolate to savor, or share a bar with friends so you're not tempted to overdo it.