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Eating to avoid PMS

Mood swings, irritability, bloating – who needs it? Premenstrual syndrome affects an estimated 40 percent of American women. Studies have found that eating certain foods may help decrease those pesky symptoms.

Yogurt. A study conducted at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst found that women who ate the highest amount of calcium (around 1,200 milligrams a day) were 30 percent less likely to develop PMS than women who ate lower amounts. One cup of nonfat plain yogurt has about 40 percent of your daily recommended dose (400 milligrams).

Salmon. The same study conducted at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst found that women who took in more vitamin D from food showed a similar risk reduction as when eating a high-calcium diet. Three ounces of cooked salmon has more than 100 percent of your recommended daily dose of vitamin D.

Hummus. Vitamin B6 has long been studied in the fight against PMS, with mixed results. Some studies show that getting enough of the vitamin can help reduce irritability, breast tenderness and depression. Whether or not the studies are conclusive, adding more vitamin B6-rich foods into your diet won’t hurt.

Amaranth. A study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology found that women with PMS who took magnesium supplements report being in a better mood than those who did not. But there’s no need to pop pills. One-half cup of amaranth has 20 percent of your daily recommended amount of magnesium.

Pineapple. Throughout the menstrual cycle, blood levels of manganese fluctuate, and developing research has found that manganese along with calcium can help improve PMS symptoms such as irritability, mood swings, depression and tension. One cup of pineapple chunks has 76 percent of your daily recommended amount of manganese.

Chamomile tea. Sit back and relax those cramping muscles with a warm cup of chamomile tea. This tea has been shown to relieve muscle spasms and can help reduce anxiety and irritability.

Pumpkin seeds. Studies have shown that zinc levels are lower in women who have PMS. One of the functions of zinc is to help control sex hormones. One-quarter cup of pumpkin seeds has about 17 percent of your daily recommended amount of zinc.

– Toby Amidor,