General Health & Well-beingHealth & NutritionWomen's Health

PMS and Chocolate



PMS and Chocolate

As with any condition in your body, always start by looking at the root cause. WHY do PMS (premenstrual syndrome) symptoms come up for you to start with?  And no, it’s not a “normal” part of your cycle—at least not the extreme symptoms. It is normal to feel a change in your body as it prepares for menstruation. It’s normal to feel tinges here and there, a little irritability. It’s not normal to get migraines, severe cramping or be bedridden. Or to become an unbearable grouch whose family needs to set their lives according to your cycle.

PMS is caused by a shift in your hormones. The 2 main hormones involved are estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen increases and progesterone decreases.  The severity of PMS is controlled by HOW much of this shift occurs within each hormone. It can mean the difference between normal, tolerable PMS symptoms and ones that make you dread that time of month.

Here’s what aggravates the imbalance:

High sugar, refined carbohydrates
White flour (gluten)
Estrogen-like products in pesticides and in pollution
Alcohol (affects your liver so that it can’t excrete extra estrogen)
(when you don’t eliminate, your body is forced to reabsorb estrogen back into the bloodstream instead of getting rid of it)

Here’s how you can work to alleviate your symptoms:

  • Remove high sugar, refined carbohydrates, white flour (gluten), caffeine, dairy and alcohol. If you have a constipation problem, it should improve by removing these foods. If it persists, add in 1 TBS coconut oil before bed.
  • Balance your blood sugar by eating protein, whether animal or plant-based, at every meal. And eat evenly throughout the day without skipping meals.
  • When PMS hits, it can lower your magnesium levels, which control your serotonin (happy hormone) levels, which makes you emotional and brings on those chocolate cravings. To help with this, have magnesium-rich foods like bananas, spinach, artichokes, peanuts, cashews and chocolate. But instead of commercial chocolate full of sugar, artificial fat and additives, try the smoothie recipe below. It uses raw cacao –endorphins in their purest form.
  • To alleviate stress, try taking an Epsom salt bath at least 3 times a week. Epsom salts are another source of magnesium.
  • Work out at least 3 days a week.

Depending on the severity of your symptoms you should start to feel a difference within 1-2 cycles. But it could take up to 6 months  or longer.

Chocolate banana Bliss Smoothie

1 cup water or almond or coconut milk
1 ripe banana
½ cup kale or spinach
2 Tablespoons cashew or
or almond butter
1 Tablespoon raw honey or stevia
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
powder or raw cacao
Ice (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth.


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Dana Dinnawi

Dana Dinnawi is an Integrative Nutrition health coach specializing in empowering women to improve their health and family life. She received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where she studied more than one hundred dietary theories and a variety of practical lifestyle coaching methods. She can be reached through her website and Facebook page.

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