The Four Stage Approach to Lessening #PMS

The 4 stage approach to PMS

Eating a healthy balanced diet and keeping fit and well will help to reduce and even alleviate PMS symptoms. If you need to go on and have other treatment, it will more likely to be successful if you have the foundation of a healthy diet and lifestyle. The ‘four stage approach’ is a tried and tested, healthy eating and lifestyle plan for the treatment of PMS based on scientific research. The first phase must always be followed before the other phases as it forms the foundation without which the other phases will not be effective. The other phases can then follow but do not have to be followed in strict order.

Phase 1: baseline healthy diet

Ensure you are eating a healthy balanced diet i.e. one that is low in saturated and trans fats, low in refined sugar, low in salt, high in fibre and each meal is based on a wholegrain starchy food such as rice, cereal, pasta, and multigrain bread. Make sure you have at least 3 portions of dairy daily and have at least two protein portions a day and at least five fruit and veg daily. Keep alcohol, tea, coffee and other caffeine containing drinks to moderate levels.

 Phase 2: controlling blood sugar swings and mood

Make sure each meal contains a good serving of a starchy food; wholegrain varieties of these are best and there is some evidence that foods with a low glycaemic index may be most helpful in alleviating some symptoms of PMS. Have three meals a day and, if there is a long gap between meals, then have a starchy snack too.

Phase 3: supplements

Not many supplements have been shown to work consistently in research studies, but calcium (1,000mg) and vitamin D (10 mcg) combined have shown some positive results, particularly if you don’t eat much dairy. An evening primrose oil supplement with vitamin E may also be helpful, especially if there is breast pain. You must take supplements continuously for 3-4 months before the full effect is achieved. However, stop taking them if they have no effect.

Phase 4: other lifestyle and health factors

Make sure you properly treat and control medical conditions such as allergies, IBS, anaemia or diabetes, which will otherwise aggravate PMS symptoms.  Carrying extra weight also aggrevates PMS symptoms Being fit and healthy will minimise PMS symptoms, so build in some exercise into your lifestyle and minimise stress.

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