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PMSing? Vegetables High In Iron May Reduce Symptoms

Iron-rich foods contain serotonin, which is a mood stabilizer, researchers suggest.

PMS symptoms are a nuisance for most women (and anyone within a 50 mile radius), and can be debilitating for some. New research shows that women who eat a diet rich in vegetable high in iron are less likely to suffer the monthly trauma of PMS.

In one of the first studies to observe the effects of mineral intake on premenstrual syndrome, researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Harvard checked out the diets — and overall health — of about 3,000 women over the course of a decade. The study was designed so that participants were free from any sort of PMS symptom at the beginning of the study, in order to being with a clean slate. Every few years, their mineral intake was assessed via questionnaires regarding food choices. After ten years, 1,057 women were confirmed as PMS cases. The control group contained the another 1,968 women.

The results showed a very high correlation between significant consumption of iron-rich veggies and low risk of developing severe PMS symptoms. It is worth noting that iron itself wasn’t the signifying factor: iron specifically from vegetables made the difference.

Iron — an essential nutrient responsible for forming a vital part of many proteins and enzymes in the body — is mainly purposed to help red blood cells transport oxygen throughout the body. Iron also regulates cell growth and differentiation. Many people think of their main source of iron as meat, however, there are two primary sources of iron. Meat contains heme, one type of iron. Nonheme iron comes from plant sources. It is more easily absorbed by the body.

The women in the study who ate more than 20mg a day of nonheme iron were almost 40 percent less likely to develop PMS symptoms. The recommended daily iron intake for most women, according to the National Institute of Health, is 18mg.

Study researchers, led by Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson, emphasize that additional research is needed to confirm the study findings. While the study suggests that eating plenty of iron-rich vegetables helps lessen the symptoms of PMS, there has not been any causal link discovered.

Bertone-Johnson suggested that nonheme iron might help reduce PMS symptoms because it is involved with the production of the brain chemical serotonin. Serotonin regulates mood.

Do you think that eating more veggies helps with PMS symptoms?

[Image via Shutterstock]

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2 Responses to “PMSing? Vegetables High In Iron May Reduce Symptoms”

  1. Shaina Kelly

    Uh, what might these vegetables be? That part slipped by…