What’s cranky and crampy and irritable all over? Unfortunately, the answer to this riddle isn’t a fun one, and we’ve all been there before… It’s a case of mean, nasty PMS. The idea for this blog post recently came to me when I was having a week where I just could not get out of my time-of-the-month cranky spell. I was feeling out of control of my emotions and super hormonal. Crying over my latte that came with soy milk instead of almond milk was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and I decided to take matters into my own hands and research some tools to turn to when the going gets hormonal. So, with a quick email to our resident health expert and holistic nutritionist Kelly LeVeque of Be Well by Kelly, I felt immediately more in control of my emotions and ready to try these natural PMS remedies. After trying all five of the below suggestions, I’m happy to report that my moodiness had tempered and I felt like myself again (and feeling empowered to make a positive shift was probably partly to thank!).
Without further ado, here are five simple and effective natural remedies to help cure your next hormonal meltdown…
1. Try Rhodiola.
Never heard of rhodiola before? Well, this powerful adaptogen could kinda change your life. This is Chinese herb calms stress in the body and gives you energy, all at the same time. If you’re dealing with a lot of stress or over-producing cortisol (the “stress hormone” made by your adrenals), your body will actually start “steal” pregnenolone (the precursor to make sex hormones) to make more cortisol, depleting your natural production of sex hormones and creating an imbalance in the body. Rhodiola calms stress and helps balance the hormones in your endocrine system naturally. Kelly recommends trying Gaia’s rhodiola that comes in easy-to-take capsules.
2. Bump up your B vitamins.
Adding a vitamin to your morning dose is easy and so worth it if it means lessening the effect of PMS. And a simple B vitamin can be all you need! Since B vitamins are synthesized by our gut bacteria, they actually help us metabolize glucose, which can in turn help insure that we don’t have excess insulin in our bloodstream (which makes us irritable). Kelly recommends buying B-Complex Plus from Pure Encapsulations.
3. Watch the sugar.
We can’t say this enough: Steer clear of sugar when mood is swinging like a pendulum. Eating sugar can result in mood highs and lows even when we’re not PMSing… And when we’re PMSing, sugar can really disrupt the healthy insulin levels in our body. When we eat sugar, it spikes our insulin levels which effect how much estrogen or testosterone we produce. To keep your hormones balanced, Kelly recommends trying to be as balanced as possible by eating her Fab4 at every meal (protein, fiber, healthy fats, greens). That way, you are not producing too much hormone-misbalancing insulin.
4. Put maca powder in your smoothie.
One of the easiest ways to get a little hormone balancing going in the beginning of the day is adding a scoop of maca powder to your morning smoothie. Kelly explains that maca helps to balance the hormones circulating in your body by giving the pituitary gland and hypothalamus a soft reset. Maca nourishes those master glands that control all other hormonal glands, so when balanced they can help bring balance to the adrenal, thyroid, pancreas and ovarian glands as well. So, basically, it helps your body become more in-tune to what hormones to release and when. Pretty amazing, right? Maca is also a great energy-booster, so if PMS makes you feel sluggish, this smoothie additive is definitely for you. Try this organic maca powder for an easy boost.
Sweating and stretching—it might feel like the last thing you want to do when you’re having debilitating cramps, but if you can get yourself to a workout class or yoga studio, Kelly promises that will thank yourself afterward. Working out not only releases our body’s “happy chemical,” endorphins, but it also releases dopamine and serotonin in our brains, both of which stave off moodiness and make us feel calm and satisfied. Plus, who doesn’t feel better after sweating it all out?
I hope that these tips help the next time you’re having a where is my mind moment during that time of the month! They definitely did the job for me.
Do you have any natural PMS remedies or cures? What tricks have you found that help stabilize your mood or hormones?
Leave your two cents in the comments below—we’d love to see what works for you! And another thanks to our girl Kelly for contributing these tips.