Balanced diet and PMS

Healthy eating habits and good nutrition may help relieve some of your premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms.

  • Eat small meals high in complex carbohydrates and whole grains to keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day. Carbohydrates may also reduce food cravings. A balanced diet with the proper amount of protein may also help blood sugar levels remain steady.
  • Restrict the amount of salt in your diet. Salt can cause your body to hold water (water retention), which may make you feel bloated.
  • Avoid diets high in refined sugar, fat, caffeine, and alcohol because these substances are more likely to worsen PMS symptoms. Sugar may increase feelings of anxiety or tension.
  • Try a vitamin B6 supplement. Take no more than 100 mg daily. High doses of vitamin B6 can cause problems with the nervous system.
  • Try taking magnesium (400 mg daily) and calcium. The recommended daily calcium intake for adults ages 19 to 50 is 1,000 mg a day, increasing to 1,200 mg a day for adults older than 50. This may improve negative moods and reduce fluid retention and pain. It may take two or three menstrual cycles to see improvement in your PMS symptoms.

Last Updated: June 19, 2008

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