We’ve repeatedly heard about the benefits of supplements during the often uncomfortable time of your period. We know to get supplements from fibre, calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, omega 3 and iron to aid our PMS symptoms but this doesn’t mean we should ignore nutritious food either.

Often, doctors point us to fruit and vegetables in tandem with medical intervention. So how do we know which foods have what we need?

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We spoke to Rosanne Lombard, a registered dietitian and nutritional solutions expert.

She says: “Due to moodiness and irritability that is associated with PMS, most women tend to opt for the unhealthier food choices, which may actually worsen PMS.”

Rosanne references a study that showed how PMS symptoms were associated with poor dietary choices and the symptoms often being worsened by additional factors such as poor health, stress, lack of exercise and smoking.

However, she says it’s is important to remember that every woman is different and may experience PMS in a different way. 

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So when we look at our diet, there are seven key nutrients that can help with the PMS that don’t need a doctor’s prescription either. 

With Rosanne's guidance, we bring you the foods that can give you one less thing to worry about during your cycle.

Rolled oats, whole-wheat bread/pasta, barley or brown rice

These foods are all high in fibre. High fibre whole grains can assist with boosting the levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin, says Roseanne.

Plain, low fat yoghurt and low fat milk

Rich in calcium, Rosanne says these foods can assist with reducing PMS – such as mood swings, depression, tension, anxiety or crying spells – and fluid retention and food cravings.

Fish, eggs, mushrooms (tanned in the sun for 10-15 minutes), fortified breakfast cereals

According to Rosanne, these foods can help relieve premenstrual pain, and migraines if you suffer from those, because of their vitamin D properties.

Green leafy vegetables, nuts/seeds, legumes and seafood

These foods are rich in magnesium and according to Rosanne, they could improve depression, fluid retention and anxiety.

Fatty fish (salmon, trout, pilchards or mackerel)

Rosanne says omega-3s are essential fatty acids that are known to assist with reducing inflammation in the body and these important nutrients can be found in these healthy fish.

Legumes, dark green leafy vegetables, fortified breakfast cereals and baked potatoes

If you have low iron levels, Rosanne says this may increase the rate of PMS.

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There are ways to make sure you don’t worsen your PMS as well. An unhealthy consumption of salty meals and snacks, alcohol and full cream milk as opposed to low fat milk can worsen your symptoms. Rosanne says essentially you try your best to eat a healthy, balanced diet that limits refined carbohydrates, caffeine, alcohol, salt and unhealthy fats. 

“It is always recommended to try to meet requirements of vitamins and minerals from the diet and then considering supplementation if these requirements cannot be met”. 

At the end of the day, each person is different and Rosanne says when it comes to managing PMS be sure to eat a variety of foods from each food group, in portion-controlled amounts. 

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