PMS is a fickle beast. Some days, a slice of pizza is enough to curb the cravings. On others, the overwhelming need to polish off the Lindt Excellence wins out. But believe it or not, there are foods that can help ease some of your symptoms without causing a spike in your blood sugar.
In a recent clinical trial, researchers looked at curcumin (the main compound of turmeric) and its effect on the main emotional, physical and behavioural characteristics of PMS (e.g. irritability, anxiety, headaches, cramping, fatigue and a lack of energy.)
Each participant supplemented with two capsules of curcumin daily for seven days before menstruation and for three days after menstruation, recording the severity of their symptoms via questionnaire. Over three successive cycles, they reported a significant decrease in symptoms, suggesting that the spice may be effective in treating PMS.
Experts put this down to its anti-inflammatory effects, as many PMS symptoms are related to inflammation (period pain, especially).
So, when should you take turmeric, you ask?
“Twice daily (every 12 hours) for seven days prior to the commencement of menstruation and three days into menstruation,” Dr Kanchan Koya tells MindBodyGreen. Combining turmeric with something that boosts its availability is also key (say, black pepper, for example.)
“You can definitely embrace turmeric in cooking, but it would be hard to reach that level of curcumin (200 mg daily) without supplementation,” she adds. “I recommend a whole turmeric-based supplement with curcumin but also the other bioactive curcuminoids.”