05 February 2008

PMS and PMDD Causes - Part 1: Nutritional Deficiencies

Researchers state that there is no real known reason why PMS (or PMDD) occurs in some women and not in others. Let me tell you what I think why PMS (and PMDD) occurs (part 1):

1. Nutritional deficiencies
Diet is fundamental to good health. That is the bottom line. If you do not get enough of natural, unprocessed foods, you are doing yourself a total disservice in terms of your health.

If your diet is basically composed of a great deal of processed foods (anything you buy from a store that you do no cook yourself) and you have a lack of fresh vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, seeds, nuts, oily fish such as salmon, trout, then your diet will be deficient in many vital nutrients (vitamins, minerals, amino acids). No amount of supplements will correct this - on one hand you are effectively ensuring your body becomes inflamed and deficient from various nutrients and on the other hand, you try to balance this with supplements, when you need the whole foods for your health.

You need to eat the following foods to maintain good health and to help your body get back to optimal health:
  • Vegetables - 7 servings each day and at least 3 of these servings should be dark, green or dark red leafy vegetables (different types of lettuce, kale, spinach, sorrel, broccoli, watercress)
  • Fruit - 5 servings each day and try to make sure you eat lots of brightly coloured or dark coloured fruits, such as blueberries, raspberries, dark purple grapes, acai berries, cherries
  • Wholegrains - 3-5 servings each day and this means not just bread, but cereals, pasta and noodles too (just make sure they are not saturated with sugar)
  • Legumes - 1-2 servings each day, this means all types of beans, such as lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • Fish - 3-4 servings per week of the oily variety, such as salmon, trout, sardines, mackerel, but just make sure you buy the fish labelled as "wild" or "deep ocean" because these fish will have the most nutrients and are less likely to be tainted by heavy metals such as mercury and lead
  • Meat - 3 servings per week and only organic, because the non-organic varieties have various chemicals and hormones injected into them, which interfere with your own hormone production and can exacerbate PMS and PMDD
  • Nuts & seeds - 2-3 servings per day and try to use organic, raw nuts, unsalted as they provide the most nutrients
You need to eliminate the following foods (or at least severely restrict them):
  • Alcohol - too much alcohol has a detrimental effect on the body and is not useful when you have PMS or PMDD
  • Sugar - many women with PMS and PMDD experience variations in their blood glucose levels and an excess of sugar will make the blood sugar levels spike quickly and fall dramatically, which has a detrimental effect on insulin levels, which are pumped out at great levels to reduce blood glucose levels - eating less foods high in sugar and more natural foods will keep blood sugar levels on an even level and this means that there will be less of an issue prior to menstruation, including a curbing of sugar cravings, which many women also experience at PMS time
  • Processed foods - any type of food that comes in a packet (other than raw nuts and seeds)
  • Take-away foods - any type of meal you buy from a take-away store
  • Salt - try to decrease it in your meal, use herbs and spices instead and try to use organic sea salt, which has more minerals in it than normal processed salt
The essential fatty acids in oily fish as well as the nuts and seeds are vital for women suffering from PMS and PMDD. Studies have shown that this essential nutrients is necessary as they are precursors of prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances that affect women when they have PMS and PMDD. The B vitamins, which are abundant in good quality meat and wholegrains are necessary for women suffering this condition, as they help to reduce symptoms. The magnesium found in many whole foods is a natural muscle relaxant.


  1. Thank you for your blog! I struggle with PMDD. I went to see my dr. on Tuesday. She prescribed an oral contraceptive and Zoloft. I am researching more natural ways to cope with PMDD before resorting to meds. I am starting a cycle diet on Monday and I really hope it helps. I have read some amazing success stories. I will keep referring to and reading your blog also. Thanks for the info!

  2. You're very welcome Michelle. In addition to everything I have posted here, I would highly recommend meditation and massage (even self massage) every single day. They really help me. Good luck with your symptoms and hope they improve :)

  3. The cycle diet sounds great. The only thing I would say is to only eat organic soy because most forms of soy in the USA are genetically modififed. And try to have a little bit of protein with your snacks (ie nuts, cheese, etc with the fruit)