Q: Are there specific vitamins or minerals that women can take during this time?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Research has shown that women can reduce many of the most difficult symptoms – menstrual cramps, depression, mood swings – by consuming a sufficient amount of calcium and magnesium on a daily basis. Calcium in particular is a vital nutrient for women in the prevention of osteoporosis.
Q: Is exercise a help or a hindrance in this situation?
Marla Ahlgrimm: One of the primary methods for reducing PMS symptoms is through regular physical activity. Exercise is known to reduce stress and decrease a woman’s risk of life-threatening diseases like cancer and heart disease. For today’s women, working out doesn’t have to mean hours of drudgery in the gym. Walking, swimming, yoga, Kick Fit, Tae Bo and tennis are all excellent forms of exercise.
Q: What adjustments do you recommend for a woman’s diet?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Dietary changes may alleviate certain PMS symptoms. Reducing the intake of caffeine, alcohol, red meat, salt and refined sugar is an important first step. Meanwhile, increase the consumption of complex carbohydrates, whole grains and fruits. Women often crave sugar while experiencing premenstrual symptoms.
Relief may come in the form of magnesium. A 300 to 500 mg supplement of magnesium has been shown to reduce breast tenderness. Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E are two other beneficial supplements during this time, offering a wealth of health benefits by protecting the heart and other vital organs.
Q: What’s an underrated technique that women can use?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Escape is a necessary part of a woman’s life. One great example of a fun getaway is spending time with a friend in a library, café, restaurant, museum or shop. Just an hour or two of conversation can provide refreshment and rejuvenation.