Bloating, fatigue, moodiness, fluid retention, headaches, pimples and muscle pain are just a few of the fun symptoms that can be a part of PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome).

By supporting your body and equipping it with the right nutrients, you may be able to reduce the severity of PMS symptoms or even avoid them all together!

Here are a few of my top 10 tips to get you through that no so glamorous time of the month. My best advice is to start following these tips 1-2 weeks prior to menstruation.

1.  Avoid high salt foods.

 Salt can contribute to fluid retention as well as bloating. Salty foods are best avoided during this time!

2.  Eat more organic foods, choose organic over conventional meats when possible.

Growth promoting hormones are given to some poultry and cattle. They can be synthetic forms of oestrogen which can contribute to excess oestrogen in your body. Excess oestrogen can contribute to PMS symptoms. 

3.  Avoid using harsh chemicals in your home and personal care/make-up products.

Chemicals found in personal care products and our environment contain a large group of endocrine disrupting chemicals. Invest in low-toxin/organic make-up and use natural cleaning products to avoid these chemicals.

4.  Increase your intake of cruciferous vegetables

This includes Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. These vegetables are required for liver detoxification which is important for the clearance of excess oestrogen (if there is an excess) and also supports an overall balance in hormone levels.

5.  Avoid chocolate, sugar and refined flours.

If you are having chocolate cravings around that time of month, opt for organic raw cacao powder and add it to your smoothies. Regular cocoa powder has been heated at high levels and in the process, a majority of the valuable nutrients and minerals have been lost. Raw cacao powder is high in magnesium which is actually beneficial for PMS as it is a vasodilator and also relaxes muscles.

6.  Reduce stress

Stress can have a direct affect on our hormones. Implement time out, meditation, walks in nature, massage, deep breathing or other stress management techniques into your life. 

7. Increase your intake of magnesium rich foods

Magnesium deficiency has been associated with PMS symptoms of mood swings, headaches, cravings and fatigue. To avoid these symptoms regularly add the following foods to your diet: 1 cup of spinach, 1-2 squares of organic dark chocolate 70-85% cacao, a handful of pumpkin seeds, a handful of almonds or a banana.

8. Increase your intake of vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 has shown to be highly beneficial in reducing oestrogen levels in the blood. It has also shown to improve symptoms and increase progesterone levels. Vitamin B6 is found in bananas, salmon, grass-fed meat and sweet potato.   

9. Cut out high caffeine foods

Sadly, it is best for you to avoid coffee and high caffeine foods during this time of month. High caffeine foods have a negative effect and can make symptoms of anxiety, depression, breast tenderness, moodiness and insomnia worse. 

10. Gentle exercise

Regular, gentle exercise is recommended for reducing PMS symptoms by increasing endorphins. Aim for 20-30 minutes of walking or gentle exercise including yoga or pilates during this time.