It’s the subject of many jokes, a few court cases and the cause of relationship problems as well: PMS-Premenstrual Stress. That sudden, irritable, anxious, stressed out feeling that can hit in a split second and stay for moments or for days. It’s hard to predict and a torment to live with. There are a lot of educated theories over what exactly happens during PMS, but that is exactly what they are-theories. The exact cause is not known for sure.
It is agreed upon that Serotonin definitely has a part to play in our overall mood and feeling of well-being. During PMS, Serotonin level can increase or decrease. The result of these changes can produce carbohydrate cravings, cravings for chocolate and various degrees of depression.
So, what exactly is Serotonin? Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter located in cells in the stomach, where it is used to regulate intestinal movements. The remainder is synthesized in the central nervous system where it controls appetite, mood and anger. It helps to maintain a sense of well-being and keeps our moods under control. It can keep us calm, reduce anxiety and help relieve depression. There are ways to increase serotonin:
Enjoy your chocolate
Chocolate affects levels of endorphins in the brain. It also increases the production of serotonin, which will lead you to feel calmer and happier. Chocolate, in moderation, can help calm the edgy feelings of discomfort that PMS causes.
Have a banana
Bananas have more Vitamin B6 than any other fresh fruit and are regarded as an excellent source of the vitamin. The vitamin B6 is needed for serotonin production. Adding a banana a day to your breakfast or lunch can have a healthy calming effect.
Bask in the sunshine
It is a tendency to hide behind closed doors when PMS hits; however, Dr. D.J. Anderson, of the Royal Postgraduate School at Hammersmith Hospital in London, completed a study using light therapy for PMS. The results showed that using light therapy every day (11-29 minutes each day) for up to four menstrual cycles reduced the symptoms of depression, anxiety, irritability, poor concentration, fatigue, food cravings, bloating and breast pain by 76 percent! According to Dr. Julian Whitaker (Health & Healing, Vol.2,No.13,12/92), “light enters your eyes and has a stimulatory effect on your hypothalamus, pineal gland, and pituitary gland–the master hormone-secreting gland of the body. Lights that approximate the sun’s full spectrum of energy keep your glands stimulated, happy, and healthy. So, rather than hiding in your room it is better to get out and soak in some sunshine!
Exercise boost Serotonin in your body and brain. Research conducted at the University of Texas at Austin found that just 50 minutes of regular exerce can have an immediate effect on mood. So, taking a 40-minute walk in the sunshine can have a double effect toward making you feel more alert, calmer and happier.
Don’t feel like a victim to the PMS; do something about it! Take a walk in the sun, have a chocolate and enjoy a banana. You’ll feel much better for it!