Updated: Jun 25, 2020
VE Natural Remedies for PMS (that actually work)
Here is a brilliant article on managing PMS by Lauren Geertsen, one of my
favourite bloggers. I love the tips about carrots and ghee! More generally, Lauren writes about nutrition and has a lot of interesting healthy recipes. Check out some more of her work!
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PMS is not normal. Your periods are not supposed to suck. That is the message I want to share with every woman who has ever experienced the ungodly pain of cramps or the frustration of hormonal breakouts. And that is why I wrote the book Quit PMS: How to End Your Menstrual Misery Naturally (http://empoweredsustenance.com/quit-pms-amazon).]
I struggled for years with debilitating periods. When I discovered that nutrition and lifestyle could address the much more dire threat of my autoimmune disease, I knew that this was also the answer to my hormone imbalances.
Sucky periods are a message from your body saying, “there are underlying imbalances here, and this is the way I can get your attention and show you what is wrong!” Below are 5 natural remedies for PMS that actually work, because they help address the root causes of PMS.
1. Munch a carrot a day
Did you know that munching on a raw carrot a day may help balance your hormones and reduce the symptoms of PMS?
Raw carrots contain a unique fiber (http://empoweredsustenance.com/raw-carrot-a-day/) that helps detox the body of excess estrogen. PMS results from too much estrogen, not enough progesterone, or a combo of both. You can blame imbalanced estrogen for menstrual breast tenderness, cramps, breakouts and bloating.
For the estrogen-detoxing results, the carrots must be raw. You can eat them whole or shred them coarsely and toss them with a vinaigrette for a carrot salad. Or try my Hazelnut, Carrot, and Ginger salad recipe, pictured below.
For best results, consume a raw carrot every day. However, the most important time to remember your carrots is a week before your period. (http://empoweredsustenance.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/ginger-carrot-salad-recipe.png)
2. Get Heavy-Handed with Ghee
I recently shared 10 reasons why I use ghee as my primary fat/oil (http://empoweredsustenance.com/benefits-of-ghee/), reaching for it much more often than coconut or olive oil.
Ghee from grass-fed cows is an excellent source of fat-soluble vitamins, the building blocks for sex hormones. Ghee is low in omega-6 fatty acids, which, while necessary in small amounts, contribute to inflammation if consumed in excess. Vegetable oils like peanut/corn/canola/safflower/soy oils contain high levels of omega-6.
Ghee is a source of cholesterol, another essential building block for sex hormones. Cholesterol is not a villain, it is a nutrient. It is vital ingredient in the metabolic processes of your body. I debunk cholesterol myths in my ghee post (http://empoweredsustenance.com/benefits-of-ghee/).
Increasing healthy fats in your diet supports balanced blood sugar – a crucial component for
balanced hormones! Processed carbs, especially in the absence of fat, spikes blood sugar and insulin.
This, in turn, exacerbates the estrogen dominance underlying PMS. Try my blood-sugar- balancing Buttermints (http://empoweredsustenance.com/stop-sugar-cravings/), featuring ghee.
3. Support You Gallbladder
You may not have considered the crucial role your gallbladder plays in hormone health. As a matter of fact, a poorly-functioning gallbladder paves the way to PMS and hormone hell.
How does the gallbladder tie into PMS?
1. The liver synthesises bile. It packages up old hormones – including estrogen – and toxins that need to leave the body in the bile. Then it ships the bile to the gallbladder.
2. The gallbladder stores bile and secretes it into the small intestine when we eat a meal with fat. The bile breaks down the fat, so we can absorb it, and then the old hormones/toxins in the bile exit the body with the faeces.
3. If your gallbladder is not functioning well, the bile become thick and stagnant in the gallbladder.
As a result, the body reabsorbs the estrogen it needed to eliminate, contributing to estrogen
4. To make matters worse, you can’t properly digest fats with thick, stuck bile. And the body needs to digest fats in order to synthesise hormones.
In a nutshell, poor gallbladder function equals the reabsorption of old estrogen and a deficiency in the building blocks required for new hormones.
4. Get Needled Before
I started researching the nutritional treatment of PMS, I began acupuncture treatments in a desperate hope that it would alleviate my excruciating periods. Within two months of receiving weekly treatment, I couldn’t believe the results. My cycle went from a 8 down to a 4 on the Sucky Period Scale (10 being really, really sucky). I gradually lessened the frequency of my treatments, and now I receive a tune-up every couple of months.
I believe that acupuncture combined with nutrition provides an extraordinarily powerful approach to balancing hormones.
5. Boost Your Magnesium
Do you crave chocolate on your period? It is likely your body calling out for magnesium, since dark chocolate is a very high magnesium food.
According to Carol Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle (http://empoweredsustenance.com/the-magnesium-miracle), magnesium levels fluctuate during your cycle. As progesterone and estrogen increase during the second half of the cycle, magnesium levels decrease. The lowered magnesium can contribute to cramps, headaches, and bloating.
Magnesium also plays a crucial role in insulin sensitivity (read: blood sugar balance) and glucose metabolism, two primary factors in hormone balance. Supplementation with magnesium has been shown to reduce hot flashes (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21271347).
Magnesium supplementation can be tricky, since many oral options are not well absorbed and cause loose stools at low levels. I recommend transdermal (skin application) magnesium, such as agnesium gel (http://empoweredsustenance.com/magnesium-gel). Read my post 5 Ways to Get More Magnesium.
Magnesium-rich foods are an important part of a balanced diet, but like Lauren
says in the article, magnesium supplementation is tricky – and, I would say, even potentially
harmful. Where it doesn’t occur naturally in foods, magnesium and other such minerals can be very harsh on the body’s delicate eco-system.
Chinese herbal medicine is a much more sophisticated way of tackling hormonal imbalance.
From the perspective of Chinese Medical philosophy, Magnesium carries a very cold energy; that’s why, though it does cool hot flushes, that cooling happens at the expense of our core vitality, the physiological fire: the imbalance is altered, but not resolved.
A Chinese herbal formula made to target a specific complaint is still aimed at achieving overall balance between the body’s systems, meaning that it can correct a specific imbalance without weakening the body anywhere else. For example, you may find that, in taking a herbal formula to help with PMS, you gradually begin to notice improvements in your general health and well being!