Let's face it. Being a woman is no walk in the park. It's actually more comparable to one of those rickety carnival roller coaster rides you think might collapse at any moment. The foods we eat play an essential role in our wellbeing, both physically and psychologically. Here are five foods that can help kick those premenstrual blues to the curb and have you walking on sunshine in no time.
Cloudy day got you feeling a little down? Time to hit the local farmers market and pick up some mushrooms for dinner. These fun guys (see what I did there?) are packed with vitamin D, a leading nutrient in alleviating depression. Vitamin D also helps break down and distribute calcium throughout the body. Plus, portobello mushrooms have high levels of potassium; more than a banana and fewer calories. Potassium deficiency, or hypokalemia, has been found to cause unexplained fatigue, anxiety, and depression-like symptoms.
Brazilian nuts, cashews, pistachios, almonds, walnuts, and more. Often referred to as "brain food", the nut family are packed with vitamin E. This nutrient has been known to lessen the blow of age and cognitive decline. They also contain vitamin B, a natural de-stressor and antidepressant. Other important nut nutrients include folic acids which prevent anemia, and the antioxidant selenium. Safe to say, nuts can make women happier. Go figure.
Salmon is loaded with omega-3 fatty acid goodness. Omega-3 deficiencies have been linked to mood disorders and elevated levels of depression. Loading up on this nutrient improves overall nail, hair, and skin health. Halibut and sardines contain selenium, the micronutrient that not only boosts the immune system but has been found to reduce risks of cancer and improve thyroid function.
This category includes brown rice, quinoa, oats, and more. Healthy carbohydrates such as these contain L-tryptophan, a nutrient our body needs for emotional health but cannot produce. This amino acid produces serotonin, the "feel-good" hormone as well as melatonin, a natural sleep aid. In fact, doctors recommend women diagnosed with PPMD take 6 grams a day to boost mood and decrease irritability. PPMD or not, we all can use a little serotonin boost! Be sure to speak with your doctor before taking supplements and snag some whole-grain goodness at your local market.
Probiotics are all the rage right now, but for good reason. They do wonders for your digestive system, which tends to take a hit when we're feeling stressed out. An article published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that "low-grade inflammation and oxidative stress" in the digestive system are directly correlated with depression and other mental health disorders. A few examples of fermented foods would be kimchi, sauerkraut, Greek yogurt, kombucha, tempeh, and pickles.
Remember, foods high in sugar are not your friend when you're feeling down. If you're about to start that time of the month and are seriously fiending for some chocolate, try dark chocolate with almonds and steer clear of the milkier options that have more sugar. Your body and mind will thank you!