Food don'ts to reduce PMS symptoms

Every month, women experience premenstrual syndrome - PMS symptoms. They are a combination of physical and emotional conditions which include abdominal cramps, anxiety, depression, bloating, breast tenderness, craving, and mood swings.

While PMS is a fact of every woman’s life, no medication can entirely relieve the monthly suffering that women experience on the onset and during their monthly period. Knowing which food to avoid may be the next best way to help relieve the pain of PMS.

There are certain foods to avoid because they exacerbate PMS symptoms. These include:


Elevates estrogen levels in women – a condition which increases the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer, fibroid tumors, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS), among others. Cutting down or eliminating caffeine, which is found in tea, coffee, colas and chocolate, relieves breast tenderness during many a woman’s period.


Increases premenstrual depression and headaches, and should be avoided.

Simple sugars

Processed sweets and candy can cause rapid swings in blood sugar levels, triggering mood swings. To counter cravings for sweet sugary foods, eat complex carbohydrates such as pasta, rice, beans, cereal, and whole grains.

Sodium (salt)

The altered levels of estrogen during a woman’s period causes water retention leading to PMS-related bloating, breast tenderness and headaches. Salt increases water retention and thus should be cut down to no more than 50 mg per serving. Processed foods, fast foods and snack foods contain high levels of sodium.


Go easy on fatty and greasy foods such as beef, lamb and pork. Instead substitute fish and poultry. While polyunsaturated oils such as safflower, corn and flaxseed should be substituted for butter.

Aside from avoiding these foods, try taking food supplements or foods rich in certain vitamins and minerals that help relieve PMS symptoms. Vitamins A and D, suppress the PMS symptoms of acne and oily skin, are found in cantaloupe, raw carrots, cooked sweet potatoes and spinach. In addition to getting Vitamin D from sunshine, it can be obtained from enriched milk and cereal.

Vitamin B6, which helps relieve premenstrual cravings, fatigue, mood swings, fluid retention and bloating, are found in fish, eggs, nuts, bananas, potatoes, and the white meat of turkey and chicken.

Stress and anxiety are common PMS symptoms. They can be alleviated by eating broccoli, bell peppers, brussels sprouts, citrus fruits, cranberry juice and cantaloupe, which are foods rich in Vitamin C.

More information on how to relieve PMS symptoms


Please read the Usage Agreement carefully before using this website. If you do not agree to all provisions found in the Usage Agreement then do not use this website. By using this website you are agreeing to the provisions found in the Usage Agreement.

Usage Agreement

footer for pms symptoms page