11 February 2008

Breakfast Helps to Reduce PMS/PMDD Symptoms

This morning, I had the most delicious breakfast ever:
  • Organic brown olive bread with a little bit of virgin olive oil on top
  • 2 boiled organic and free range eggs
  • Organic banana and peach salad with (non-organic) yoghurt and crushed pecans
The bread with olive oil was an essential item for this morning, because when a woman has PMS, she needs to have more essential fatty acids in her diet and I think I need a lot more, as I do not eat butter, margarine or much fats other than olive oil (or sometimes the bad fats from junk food, but I try to avoid those for the most part, now). The yoghurt was also a fantastic item because it is a given that calcium levels in women seem to drop just before menstruation. Plus calcium is great for women due to its protective activity against osteoporosis.

The essential fatty acids are great for the brain cells, which in essence, controls everything that happens in the body. If your brain is functioning properly, it could be that there is less likelihood that PMS can happen. You see, inside the brain is the master gland of the endocrine system, that controls all the hormone secretions in the body - the pituitary gland.

The pituitary gland is responsible for releasing a hormone that stimulates the hormone synthesis in the reproductive system - follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH), which in turn cause ovulation and then stimulate the synthesis and secretion of oestrogen (oestradiol) and progesterone.

The synthesis and secretion of the different types of hormones from the pituitary gland to the ovaries occurs in a complicated process, which if any part of it does not function correctly, could cause an imbalance of hormones and in some women, even if it is slightly imbalanced, could be the reason for PMS (and PMDD).

Scientists have many theories about what causes PMS, but they do not have a definitive answer yet. While they propose their various theories, women should just know that the following will definitely have an effect on them regarding PMS (and PMDD):

Diet plays a direct role in not just PMS (and PMDD), but in overall health. If you are not getting enough of the right nutrients, then your health will suffer. It really is just that simple.

You need to exercise to enable correct circulation in the body - this may have some definite impacts on the way that the hormones are circulated in the body. After all, the pituitary gland is in the head and the blood needs to transport the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and the luteinising hormone (LH) to the ovaries, which is quite a long distance away. If the circulatory system is not working correctly, this could impact the amount of hormones that are sent to the ovaries.

In addition to this, exercise reduces fat, increase muscle tone, increases metabolism and release endorphins, which are "feel-good" hormones - what better way to counteract the "feel-bad" times of PMS?

Reducing exposure to chemical xenoeostrogen toxins
Reducing your exposure to these chemicals (phthalates and Bisphenol A), which mimic oestrogen and disrupt hormone function in the body, means that there is less likelihood for PMS. These chemicals are toxic to the body as they are stored (when ingested or breathed in) in the fat cells and women have fat cells in the breasts, which due to the oestrogen-like activity of these chemicals increases the risk of breast cancer!

So not only do these chemicals (phthalates and Bisphenol A) interfere with the body's natural hormone production, but they are implicated in female cancers too.

How do you reduce your risk of these chemicals? Stay away from using plastics in your kitchen. Do not heat anything in the microwave with plastics - that means no plastic containers, no plastic cling (or saran) wrap, do not warm baby plastic bottles. Try to drink from ceramic or glass, warm up food in glass, ceramic, iron or stainless steel containers (but do not use the metals in the microwave - only glass or ceramic, but ensure they are microwave-safe).

Reduce stress
Stress at any time is bad for the body, but if you have an illness or health condition, it just makes it feel so much worse.

Ways to reduce stress - meditation, yoga, tai chi, visualisation - just take at least 15 minutes each day to feel better, wind down and relax.