Stop PMS Symptoms with Simple Diet Changes

young-girl-eating-chocolateYou can tell when you have PMS (premenstrual syndrome) because you will go through hell and high water for some sweetness on your tongue.  You finally get your hands on a chocolate candy bar that you so desperately think you need and tear bite into it like a raving, mad woman.

You take your first bite and you are immediately soothed by the sweet, creamy, smoothness of the chocolate candy bar.  It is at this time when you are finally calm.

Does the above sound familiar?  Sure, it does.  If you are a woman, you have had the cravings for sweetness in your mouth and dared someone to stand in the way of you getting your sweet fix.

Did you know that you can stop the PMS cravings as well as other symptoms that effect you during that time of the month?  Yes, you can.  You can do it by making simple diet changes.

My Battle with PMS Symptoms

It all started in my teen years.  I would get sick, have major cramps (I popped Advil or Tylenol like a drug addict), vomit, have hot and cold sweats and a week or so before my dreaded visitor arrived, I had to have the sweets.

I thought PMS symptoms were normal and no one told me otherwise.  Let’s fast forward to my 20’s.  I still had the symptoms and dealt with it the best that I could.  It was not until I reached my early 30’s, when I discovered that I can stop PMS symptoms, by changing my diet.

Today, I do not have PMS symptoms.  I do not have cravings, cramping, bloating, irritability, moodiness, hot and cold sweats, or vomiting.  Most of the time my period sneaks up on me.  I no longer dread that time of the month, because it comes and goes without any problems.

The longer I eat a plant-based diet the less PMS symptoms I have.  My diet consists of fruits, vegetables, beans/legumes, grains and a small amount of seeds and nuts.  I eat a low-fat, vegan (plant-based) diet.  It is a very simple diet, but sometimes challenging.  When I am faced with challenges, I focus on the benefits and that is what keeps me going.

Estrogen Triggers Cravings

During the monthly cycle, estrogen levels rise because of the possibility of pregnancy, but when pregnancy does not occur, the estrogen levels decrease.  The drop in estrogen levels might cause you to feel bloated, moody and crave chocolate.

Food Helps Control Estrogen

You can control your estrogen levels with simple diet changes.  You read my experience and how things changed because of dietary changes that I made.  I had no idea that I was controlling my estrogen levels with food, but now I understand the science.

“If we keep fat intake low, estrogen stays at a more modest level throughout the month.  It won’t ever climb too high – and there will be no drop at the end of the month.  That helps tame PMS, cramps – and cravings.” Dr. Neal Barnard

woman-in-terrible-painFiber Helps Your Body’s Estrogen-Disposal System

Eating foods that are high in fiber helps absorb the waste estrogen.  Fiber acts like a sponge and carries the estrogen out of your body.

Animal foods are devoid of fiber and you get fiber from plants foods.  Eating a diet low in fiber slows the process of estrogen being carried out of the body.

The liver removes estrogen from your blood and sends it to the intestinal tract for disposal.

However, a diet that has low to no fiber does not help with the estrogen-disposal system.

The estrogen ends up circulating back into your bloodstream, resulting in a higher level of estrogen your body than needed.

You get fiber from eating plant foods.  The fiber helps move things out of your body.  Begin today increasing the amount of plant foods you eat.  Eat foods such as: vegetables, fruits, beans and grains.  The fiber in these foods help trap estrogen in the digestive tract and carry it out with the wastes.

Steps That Help Control Estrogen

You want to stop estrogen from rising too high early in the month so that it does not fall too much at the end of the month.

  • Start your diet change on the first day of your monthly cycle (the first day of your period) and follow the diet for the entire month.
  • Eliminate animal products and added vegetable oils.
  • Eat foods that are high in fiber (beans, vegetables, fruit and grains).
  • Pay attention during the last week of the month to your cravings, PMS symptoms, and cramps.  It is likely that you will notice the benefits of changing your diet in the very first month, and the effects become increasingly noticeable with each new cycle.

If you are interested in weight loss, you will probably notice that you lose weight as a result of your diet change.

Final Words

The changes that I made in my diet eliminated PMS symptoms.    I no longer have cramps, vomit, hot and cold sweats, mood swings and the cravings.  I am thankful that I do not have any PMS symptoms.  It is a miracle and you can have that miracle too.

Changing your diet is a simple answer to PMS, yet challenging, because you are used to eating what you eat.  If you have PMS symptoms and they are kicking your butt, make the commitment to eating more plant foods.  Better yet, eat a plant-based diet and reap the benefits of not having PMS symptoms.

Men, if you read this article and know a woman who has PMS, please share this article with her. You’ll be glad you did.

Once you go plants, it’s hard to go back!

Information source for this article obtained from Breaking the Food Seduction: The Hidden Reasons Behind Food Cravings—And 7 Steps to End Them Naturally written by Neal Barnard, MD.  I encourage you to read this book, especially if you crave sugar, cheese and meat.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles (1) and Marin (2) /


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About the Author

Evelyn Parham started this site in 2010. She enjoys writing, reading, and dabbling in photography and video editing. Learn more about her here.

4 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Trinity says:

    When I was in my teens, that was me! After my first pregnancy, PMS was not nearly as bad. However, I am now dealing with hormonal imbalances that are causing minor (sometimes moderate) discomfort. When I discovered I had fibroids, I decided to drastically change my diet. For me, that means eating non-meats 75%-80% of the time. For the last few months, the hormonal imbalance discomforts have definitely moved from mild to moderate. Please understand me, the discomforts are NOTHING compared to the way they once were. However, I really believe that (after reading this post), it may be time to bump it up to the next level (exclude the animal products- OUCH!) My junk food cravings – especially the sugar cravings must improve. When things are out of balance, the results of the imbalance manifests in different ways. Thanks for this timely post. I will need MUCH, MUCH, MUCH encouragement as I go forth in making the changes.

    • Hi Trinity,

      Thanks for sharing your experience with PMS. You’ve already made changes in your diet and you see the difference it has made and that is great.

      I say, give it a try and see how it works for you. Sugar is a something else, but I think those cravings are less and less when we eat a diet higher in fiber. I’m a witness to that.

      Let me know how things go for you. Don’t try to do it all at once, just gradually make changes and see how you feel.

      Take care and have a good weekend!

  2. TeaJae says:

    So glad you posted this. I’m in horrible pain each and every month the entire duration of the cycle, gets worse as I get older. I’m balled up saying kill me. I’m on Vicodin for the pain and it doesn’t work anymore unless I take 2 of them. It leaves me unable to function. When I worked outside the home I would miss a few days each month from work. I was found more then once on the floor knocked out in a cold sweat. My doctor had to write a note to my employers stayed in my personnel file as to why I would miss work. I couldn’t help it. I’ve been told to take birth control pills which I don’t want to do. I’m glad to know there is a way around this. It’s not fibroid tumors either, just estrogen dominate I’ve been told.

    • Hi TeaJae,

      Wow, I hate to hear that, but I am glad you shared how PMS effects you.

      Estrogen dominant can lead to fibroids or other issues. You’re doing the right thing by staying away from birth control pills, because that’s just adding more hormone (estrogen/progestrogen) to your system.

      Yes, there is a way to deal with PMS, naturally by making simple changes in your diet. I encourage you to make changes (if you haven’t already) and stick with it. I had issues since I was a teenager and it wasn’t until I changed my diet, that the symptoms went away. Food is my miracle answer to PMS. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing. Have a great weekend!