The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking PMS symptoms to low iron intake, while noting that too much potassium could contribute to symptoms. 10-year study of more than 3,000 women has found that dietary iron may reduce the risk for premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Researchers found that women in the highest 20 percent for iron intake were about 40 percent less likely to suffer PMS. These findings suggest that dietary minerals may be useful in preventing PMS.
PMS is also linked to low serotonin levels. Serotonin is the “happy neurotransmitter” responsible for regulating mood and sleep. Many amino acids come from protein rich foods, that are also high in iron, which boost energy and mental alertness. After protein breaks down into amino acids during digestion, the acids travel from the bloodstream to the brain, where they increase levels of certain neurotransmitters. It isn’t only protein that increases serotonin. Carbohydrates increase insulin which helps with amino acid competition and gives serotonin a chance (because it is more difficult to make than the excitatory neurotransmitters. Tryptophan, the amino acid responsible for creating serotonin, produces calming effects when ingested. Iron and protein filled foods are shown to ward off moodiness and physiological symptoms associated with PMS.
How do you get more Iron in your diet? From the foods below. Women, between 18-50 years of age, are said to need 18 milligrams daily Another helpful hint, combining Vitamin C rich foods with iron helps the absorption rate.
- Red meat
- Pumpkin, sesame, or squash seeds
- Sweet potatoes
- String beans
- Egg yolks
- Dark, leafy greens (spinach, collards, kale)
- Dried fruit (prunes, raisins)
- Iron-enriched cereals and grains (check the labels)
- Mollusks (oysters, clams, scallops)
- Beans, lentils, chick peas and soybeans
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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant. Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.
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