Do you experience period cramps, general aches and pains or breast tenderness before starting a new cycle? What if a few simple dietary changes could relieve much of this discomfort you might be experiencing? Fortunately, it is possible to have complete relief from PMS with lifestyle and nutritional modifications, so let’s examine how inflammation might be a contributing factor.
Chronic inflammation disrupts communication between sex hormones and hormone-sensitive tissue in the body, found in the breasts and uterus. Inflammatory cytokines( produced by the immune system) impede progesterone production and overstimulate estrogen and progesterone receptors. Reducing inflammation is particularly essential if you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or Endometriosis.
Sugar contributes to insulin resistance by promoting an inflammatory response in the liver that impairs sensitivity to insulin. Sugar also causes tissue damage and prompts an immune response that signals the production of inflammatory cytokines.
Alcohol has several harmful effects on optimal hormone function. Not only does it inhibit the body’s ability to detoxify, but it also reduces the critical nutrient Glutathione, which is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound.
Gluten is an inflammatory protein found in foods such as wheat, rye, spelt and barley. Not everyone is sensitive to gluten, but a vast majority of people with chronic digestive issues are susceptible to it. Repeated consumption of gluten when there is sensitivity present can damage intestinal walls, resulting in permeability. Intestinal permeability is an important factor in inflammatory conditions and auto-immune disorders. It allows large, undigested proteins that the body does not recognize into the bloodstream, which triggers an immune response and inflammatory cytokines release
For many, A1 Casein, a protein found in dairy products, triggers an immune response due to sensitivity or allergy( If you suffered from chronic ear infections or tonsillitis as a child, the chances are that you have an A1 Casein sensitivity). Similarly, A1 Casein, like Alcohol, can also reduce the production of the anti-inflammatory compound, Glutathione.
5. Vegetable Oil
Vegetable oils tend to have an imbalanced ratio of Omega 6 fats( containing pro-inflammatory prostaglandins) to anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fats. Vegetable oils ( soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil), when processed, produce a toxic byproduct called trans-fats, which are typically found in deep-fried foods.
This week, challenge yourself by limiting/eliminating foods from these five categories over the next six days. Make a note of any significant changes to your digestion and if you are in the week leading up to your Period, notice if it makes a difference to PMS symptoms experienced.