Although your skin may glow a few days before you get a visit from Auntie Flo, nobody likes the symptoms of PMS. Popping a painkiller may be the most common way of finding relief, but there are plenty of ways you can alleviate bloating, cramping and cravings without raiding the medicine cabinet. Looking for natural alternatives? Good news! Diet, exercise and supplements can help combat the side effects of this dreaded time of month, and according to author of Mom Energy Kathy Kaehler, they really work! We spoke with the Los Angeles-based celebrity food coach for some tips.
Although the gym is the last place you feel like going when you have cramps, exercise can alleviate body aches and pains. "Focus on stretching your abdominal muscles—try yoga or pilates—as it will reduce cramping," says Kathy. If you really motivate yourself to fit in a full workout, walk every day for at least 30 minutes. The adrenaline you get from exercising will also help to improve your mood!
Maintaining a healthy diet is always important, but you need to be extra aware of what you put in your mouth the week of your period. "Stay away from foods such as potato chips, sugar, and carbohydrates," says Kathy. "Instead, include foods that are rich in magnesium, such as pineapple, beans, and tofu." Magnesium helps to reduce bloating, tender breasts, and weight gain. If you're still craving sweets, opt for foods with natural sugar and salt. Try eating fresh berries with a little dark chocolate for a sugar fix. And chew on naturally sodium-rich vegetables such as roasted brussel sprouts, cabbage, or broccoli—the salt is released when they're baked!
Sick of feeling cranky and bloated all week long? Supplements such as vitamin B, calcium, and evening primrose oil are great at alleviating PMS symptoms. Vitamin B is known for its mood-balancing properties, and taking a supplement daily will prevent bad moods. Calcium is also great at reducing bloating, depression, and food cravings, while evening primrose oil dramatically reduces breast tenderness, bloating, and hormonal breakouts!