15 foods that can ease or worsen PMS pain


Since the beginning of time, women have had to deal with the negative side effects associated with PMS.

With bloating, cramps, and discomfort being commonplace for many women, we've often had to turn to pain medications, therapies, and trips to the doctor in order to fight back against PMS problems.

However, I was surprised to learn that we might actually have more control over these things than we originally thought.

Just as there are foods that will help spice up your love life, there are also foods that can combat the negative effects of PMS.

LittleThings talked to certified dietician nutritionist Ilyse Schapiro, and vitamin and supplement expert Hallie Rich, about the influence food can have on your PMS symptoms.

These co-authors of the upcoming book Should I Scoop Out My Bagel? gave us some exclusive insight into precisely which foods you should eating, and which foods might be making your PMS pains even worse.

Scroll through below to see exactly which foods might be making your cramps even worse, and which foods are "important when it comes to combatting PMS."

BAD: Alcohol


Experts Ilyse Schapiro and Hallie Rich told LittleThings, "Don't overdue it on alcohol."

Alcohol can quickly and easily contribute to the negative side effects associated with PMS. Opt instead for water or a low-sugar juice.

BAD: Caffeine


According to nutrition experts Ilyse Schapiro and Hallie Rich, caffeine should be avoided because it "can make you dehydrated, jittery, and irritable."

Anything that increases your anxiety levels is a bad thing during this extremely sensitive time of the month.

BAD: Red Meat


Red meat is not always the easiest thing to digest, and it can actually make your PMS symptoms even worse.

Avoid burgers or steaks, as they are likely to make your nausea and cramps more severe.

BAD: Dairy


Dairy products can actually make your cramps even worse, and should be avoided at all costs.

Try to get your calcium from other sources, and skip foods like cheese, milk, ice cream and butter.

BAD: Fatty and Salty Foods


Even though you might be craving fatty or salty foods, experts Ilyse Schapiro and Hallie Rich say that they "will only make you feel more bloated (and miserable)."

Skip the fast food, and instead feed your cravings with some of the healthier options below.

GOOD: Chickpeas


Chickpeas contain precisely the right nutrients that you need to combat PMS pains.

Hummus eaten with fresh vegetables like celery or carrots can be crucial to easing your cramps.

GOOD: Salmon


Salmon has many health benefits because it is full of omega-3. One of these benefits is fighting PMS problems.

This fish can help reduce bloating and stop your cramps because of its anti-inflammatory qualities.

GOOD: Chicken Breast


According to Healthline.com, "Poor nutrition can lead to deficiencies that can worsen menstruation symptoms, so stock up on foods packed with essential vitamins and nutrients [like] chicken."

Grilled chicken breast is a healthy and lean option for keeping your energy up and your PMS pains at bay.

GOOD: Oatmeal


Oatmeal is one of the main foods that the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine suggests in order to reduce menstrual cramps.

Including oatmeal in your diet throughout the month can reduce the symptoms by the time your PMS strikes.

GOOD: Spinach


Leafy green vegetables like spinach are a good source of iron and calcium, both of which go a long way in fighting cramps.

This superfood has many other health benefits, providing you with more energy and even helping your skin.

GOOD: Broccoli


According to EverydayHealth.com, "Put broccoli at the top of your list of veggies that fight PMS... Steam some broccoli with your grilled salmon and you may kiss PMS goodbye."

Broccoli contains much-needed calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C – all of which can help you combat your symptoms.

GOOD: Water and Tea


According to EverydayHealth.com, "A warm cup of naturally caffeine-free chamomile tea can be soothing when PMS strikes, easing the anxiety and irritability that hormonal shifts can cause in the days leading up to your period."

Staying hydrated with plenty of water is also a great way to combat typical PMS pains.

GOOD: Celery


Celery is a good way to combat bloating and keep you hydrated.

Because celery contains so much water, you will be able to lessen your PMS pain, without consuming any calories at all.

GOOD: Dark Chocolate


If you are craving something sweet, you want to avoid anything too high in refined sugars.

Luckily, dark chocolate is a sweet snack that will also help your muscles to relax, aiding with PMS pain.

GOOD: Brown Rice


The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine recommends including plenty of whole grains in your diet, such as brown rice.

These grains have "beneficial effects" that can be "evident after a cycle or two."

Being aware of which foods you should eat and which you should avoid can have a huge impact on your PMS cramps and nausea.

For more from experts Ilyse Schapiro and Hallie Rich, their book Should I Scoop Out My Bagel? is available on Amazon.

Will you be trying these PMS-fighting foods yourself? Which ones helped you the most? Let us know in the comments.

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