There may have been certain days in a month where you may have woken up grumpy, irritated and ready to bite the next person who disagrees or annoys you in the slightest manner. Along with this mental state you may feel breast tenderness and bloating especially around your stomach area which may make you more uncomfortable. Well you are not alone – every woman at some point in her menstrual cycle life goes through some or all of these symptoms. These symptoms are what we call the PMS syndrome. Premenstrual syndrome or PMS produces physical and mental changes which typically begin from the mid cycle onwards and clear as soon as the period starts. PMS may be related to the production of the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone which are responsible for the menstrual cycle and to a woman’s sensitivity to changing hormone levels.

So, if you think of ordering the packet of chips or gulp cups of coffee to just feel good during those days, then think again before doing so. The extra salt in the chips and the excessive caffeine is just going to increase your bloating and breast tenderness besides making you feel more irritable and jittery.

Researchers in both orthodox and alternative medicine agree that PMS symptoms can be eased by a good diet. We have a few foods that work wonderfully and be one of your best weapons against the angst of PMS:

Low fat yogurt:

Calcium and Vitamin D as per research lower the risk of developing PMS by as much as 40%. So what better way to ward off the hunger pangs or food cravings than the low fat yogurt? And yes, the results are stronger with the calcium coming from food rather than from supplements.

Suggested use: Use it to make a dip or add it to a smoothie or have it with some low sugared granola mix.


The nutritional power houses have a variety of vitamins and minerals in them, not forgetting the omega three fatty acids loaded in them. The omega threes may help relieve the pain due to the menstrual cramps.

Suggested use: Whip up a guacamole or add a few slices to the sandwich or use it in a smoothie.


Rich in magnesium – known to ease the PMS symptoms, peanuts can help lift your moods and decrease bloating. However staying away from the salted variety would be an ideal option as the extra salt will encourage water retention. And don’t forget – excessive intake will only help in piling the extra pounds. So, watch the intake.

Suggested use: Use them in salads or in chutneys and not to forget the lip smacking peanut butter – in regulated quantity.


Vitamin B and Potassium eases the bloating symptoms and can also help relieve the pain from cramping. So keep bananas handy when the hunger strikes.

Suggested use: Can be eaten as a filler in between meals as a fruit or in smoothies or as a part of a salad.

Pumpkin seeds:

Magnesium in pumpkin seeds can help deal with the headaches associated with PMS. It can relax the blood vessels thus alleviating the headache.

Suggested use: Sprinkle them on your salads or add them to your yogurt. Best option would be to dry roast them and enjoy them.


Chickpeas, rich in Vitamin B and magnesium help reduce the bloating and regulates the activity of serotonin, the feel good neurotransmitter that impacts the mood.

Suggested use: Add them to stir fries, in salads and soups or use them to make the good old hummus and enjoy it as a dip.

Besides the above foods that we recommend, there are a lot of other foods that also contribute to alleviating the PMS symptoms. A well balanced diet filled with complex carbohydrates, lean proteins and low fat foods are essential to good health. Foods containing thiamine and riboflavin (vitamin B1 and B2) may reduce the incidence of PMS by 35%. However taking B1 and B2 as supplements has no effect on PMS rates. Therefore eat plenty of foods containing these B vitamins, for example wholegrain cereals, some meat, milk, and beans. A low intake of iron and zinc may be associated with increased rate of PMS. Currently there is little evidence for the effectiveness of other vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements. The point to remember – avoid simple carbohydrates which decrease the amounts of serotonin, the brain chemical. And, low serotonin levels lead to feeling bad, crabby and irritable.

This write up has been contributed by Arati Shah from the Café Nutrition Team. Café Nutrition is a leading Nutrition and Wellness Company helping clients in their health goals whether it is weight loss, a clinical condition or a fat loss in Mumbai as well as offering online nutrition services around the globe.