- No-More-PMS diet consists of anti-inflammatory foods and nutrients
- The eating plan was devised by naturopathic doctor Lara Briden
- Research indicates that PMS is caused by unhealthy hormone receptors
- Health of hormone receptors is impaired by chronic inflammation
- Stress, smoking, and eating certain foods are all causes of inflammation
- Cutting inflammatory foods can result in dramatic improvement in PMS
Andrea Magrath For Daily Mail Australia
Most women know them well: Irritability, cravings, fatigue… the ugly, tiresome side effects that precede their period.
While many of us have accepted what seemed like the inevitable every month and suffered through them armed with an arsenal of painkillers, hot water bottles and chocolate (while those nearest and dearest to us run for cover), one doctor claims that our PMS can be banished forever with just a few simple steps.
‘Premenstrual symptoms such as irritability and cravings are common, but they’re not normal,’ Dr Lara Briden tells Daily Mail Australia.
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Common, but not inevitable: While Premenstrual symptoms such as irritability, cravings and fatigue have become accepted by most women as normal, one doctor claims it shouldn’t be so
Dr Briden, a naturopathic doctor with nearly 20 years experience in women’s health, recounts a patient who was suffering with PMS whom she helped by changing her eating habits.
‘At 34, Julie was a bubbly, energetic person. She was happily married with two school aged children, and worked three days per week as a dental hygienist. “I feel well most of the time,” she told me.
“But then, five days before my period, everything changes. I suddenly feel headachy and fatigued. I get snappy with my husband and my kids, and I can’t seem to stop myself.”
Happy days: The naturopathic doctor says that PMS can be banished for good by adapting an anti-inflammatory diet
‘I ordered some blood tests for Julie, and found that her hormones were normal, which is typical for PMS. Some doctors would offer the birth control pill at this point, but I know there’s a better way.
‘I asked Julie to stop eating desserts and deep-fried foods. Julie also took the nutritional supplements magnesium and vitamin B6, and within the very first month, she noticed a dramatic change.
“I was surprised when my period just arrived,” she said. “I didn’t even feel it coming.” That’s why I love treating PMS. It responds so well to natural treatment.’
DR LARA BRIDEN’S ‘NO-MORE-PMS’ DIET
Option 1. Unsweetened muesli with mixed berries and unsweetened greek yoghurt
Option 2. Two scrambled eggs on whole grain or gluten-free toast with butter
Option 3. Spinach and goat cheese frittata
Beverages: Water, tea or coffee
Unsweetened muesli with berries (left) and scrambled eggs (right) are among Dr Briden’s suggested breakfasts in her ‘No-More-PMS’ diet plan
Option 1. Handful of raw cashews
Option 2. Rye crackers with half an avocado and lemon juice
Option 3. Fresh fruit
Option 1. Chicken wrap with grated carrot, beet and fresh spinach leaves
Option 2. Large green salad with smoked salmon, avocado and olive oil dressing
Option 3. Sushi with miso soup
Beverages: Water or sparkling water. Tea or coffee
Green salads with oily fish (left) and sushi (right) are some of the delicious and nutritious lunch suggestions
Option 1. Roasted lamb shanks with potato mash and steamed kale
Option 2. Barbecued salmon steaks with oven baked sweet potato chips and spinach salad
Option 3. Chicken and broccoli stir-fry with rice
Beverages: Water or sparkling water with lemon. One glass of wine or beer
Stir-fry (left), lamb with potatoes and kale, or salmon steaks are all dinner options, while a small serving of dark chocolate (right) is a sweet treat for dessert
Option 1. Two squares of 85 per cent cocoa dark chocolate
Option 2. Cinnamon poached pears
Option 3. Gluten-free almond and orange torte made with half the sugar
Dr Briden explains that PMS has often been dismissed as a myth in the past, but that new research has indicated a link between inflammation and PMS.
‘PMS has been a controversial diagnosis because researchers have not been able to detect any difference in the blood levels of hormones of PMS-sufferers compared to non-PMS-sufferers,’ says Dr Briden. ‘In both groups, oestrogen and progesterone levels rise and fall throughout the month just like they’re supposed to.
‘That has led some researchers to dismiss PMS as a myth, but I see it another way.
Hormonal: PMS is caused by your response to the drop in hormones, which depends on the health of your hormone receptors… A primary cause of unhealthy receptors is chronic inflammation
‘Of course PMS-sufferers have normal hormone levels. That’s because female hormones are not the actual cause of PMS. Why did we ever think they would be? Neither oestrogen nor progesterone are inherently bad for mood. Quite the opposite. They’re both beneficial for mood because they boost neurotransmitters such as serotonin.
‘I’ve worked with thousands of PMS patients, and I’m convinced: PMS is not caused by hormones, or even by the drop in hormones (which is inevitable at the end of the menstrual cycle). Instead, PMS is caused by your individual response to that drop in hormones.
Dr Lara Briden has been a naturopathic doctor specialising in women’s health for 20 years
‘This is where it gets interesting. Your response to hormones depends on the health and resilience of your hormone receptors, which are the tiny docking stations for your female hormones, and are found in every tissue, including your brain.
‘Your hormone receptors translate hormonal messages into real physical effects such as mood or appetite.
‘When your receptors are healthy, they’re flexible, and they adapt to rising and falling hormone levels by simply dialling up and dialling down their response (depending on the level of hormone). That means no PMS.
‘When your receptors are not healthy, on the other hand, they cannot adapt to changing hormones, and that leads to premenstrual symptoms.
‘Fortunately, we know what impairs the health of hormone receptors: Chronic inflammation. According to a recent study, blood markers of inflammation are higher in PMS-sufferers. Chronic inflammation is a kind of long-term immune activation that is caused by different things including stress and smoking. It’s also caused by certain inflammatory foods, and that’s why diet is so effective as PMS treatment.’
Off the table: Deep fried and sugary foods are the most inflammatory, and therefore should be avoided
EAT FEWER INFLAMMATORY FOODS
The most inflammatory foods are deep-fried foods and high-sugar foods such as desserts and sweet drinks, so you should avoid those. You should also avoid fruit juice because it is concentrated sugar. Whole fruit is permitted.
Sugar and deep fried foods are inflammatory for everyone, but other foods, such as wheat and dairy products, can also be inflammatory if you have a sensitivity to them.
Food sensitivities are well known to cause symptoms such as sinus or eczema, but they are also a common cause of PMS. Try avoiding wheat and dairy for three months, and see the difference. If in doubt, speak to your doctor or nutritionist.
Tip: PMS is a common symptom of food sensitivities.
Eat the rainbow: Brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables such as berries, spinach and kale provide essential nutrients such as folate and magnesium
EAT MORE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS
The foods that actively reduce inflammation are fruits and vegetables, especially the brightly coloured ones such as berries, spinach, and kale.
Fruit and vegetables are anti-inflammatory because they provide essential nutrients such as folate and magnesium, and because they provide phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are beneficial plant compounds that stimulate your immune system and to reduce its inflammatory response.
Supplements: Dr Briden recommends mineral magnesium and vitamin B6 to supplement diet
SUPPLEMENT WITH NATURAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY NUTRIENTS
My favourite anti-inflammatory nutritional supplement is the mineral magnesium. Together with vitamin B6, magnesium has done extremely well in clinical trials for premenstrual syndrome. Both supplements are safe and easy to obtain. Speak to your chemist.
Tip: The No-More-PMS Diet works to prevent PMS. Please follow it during all the days of your cycle – not just when you’re premenstrual.
Lara Briden is a naturopathic doctor with nearly 20 years experience in women’s health. She’s just released her new book Period Repair Manual: Natural Treatment for Better Hormones and Better Periods.
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