Nutrition, Lifestyle, PMS and Periods


Periods can be a bit of an inconvenience, but I think more of us are realising our periods don’t have to hold us back and stop us from doing what we want.  Our nutrition and lifestyle can work together to help keep those pesky PMS symptoms under control you can get on with what you want to do without thinking about your period.

It’s estimated roughly 85% of women have at least one PMS symptom during their cycles, and many of these are mild.  But sometimes bloating, fluid retention, irritability, fatigue, headaches, cravings and cramps can cramp our style.  The good news is lifestyle changes can help!  Today, thanks to U by Kotex I’m talking how nutrition, exercise and lifestyle can help you move on from letting your period hold you back.


A healthy diet is always important  for us to feel at our best, and when it comes to nutrition there are a few things that have been found to help some who suffer from PMS.

One area that has been researched in regards to PMS symptoms is calcium.  Calcium might play a role in PMS due to its relationship with the hormone estrogen.  Estrogen helps improve the absorption of calcium as well as maintaining calcium levels within the blood.   Estrogen levels drop sharply in the lead up to your period and one theory is that that either dysregulation of hormones or symptoms of  calcium deficiency show up as PMS.    One study found that calcium intake at around 1,200mg a day reduced the risk of developing PMS by 30%, while another study found that calcium supplementation significantly reduce symptoms of PMS including bloating, food cravings and pain.   It took 3 months for the increase in calcium to have an effect.

And calcium is a nutrient that many of us lack.  The last NZ Nutrition Survey found many women aged 15 and over do not get enough – so if you get PMS, you might want to think about how much calcium you’re getting in your daily diet. It’s recommended that women aged between 12-18 get 1300mg of calcium a day, and those aged 19-70 get 1000mg of calcium a day.

Rather than supplementing (which can have it’s issues), try getting adequate calcium from food sources first before discussing supplements.   If you’re dairy free, make sure you include plenty of non dairy sources of calcium to get an adequate intake.

Calcium content of some common foods

Food Calcium content
150g yoghurt 195mg
250ml milk 300mg
20g Edam cheese 162mg
100g tofu 105mg
3 sardines (from tinned) 102mg
80g tinned salmon (with bones) 198mg
1 cup fortified almond milk or soy milk

(check the nutrition panel – this may vary by brand)

30g raw almonds 75mg
2 slices 12 grain toast bread 61mg
1 cup cooked broccoli 59mg
1 medium naval orange 42mg
3 teaspoons hulled tahini 50mg


Other nutrients that may play a role in relieving PMS symptoms include B vitamins, magnesium and vitamin D.


Magnesium is thought to help with reducing fluid retention, breast tenderness and insomnia.

Magnesium rich foods include dark leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, wholegrains, legumes, avocado, fish and dairy products.

Vitamin B6 plays a role in making the amino acids which are precursors to the hormones seretonin and dopamine. Both of these hormones affect our moods.  Some studies show that this vitamin helps with mood related PMS symptoms, but other studies show no effect.    Vitamin B6 rich foods include meat, chicken, oily fish, wholegrains, soybeans, avocados, bananas, peanuts.

Vitamin D plays a vital role in the absorption of calcium, and may affect PMS.  We get most of our vitamin D from sun exposure, but there are a few food sources of vitamin D such as oily fish and egg yolk.  You can read more about vitamin D here.

So now we know more on what foods to include, what about things to reduce?

Reducing sugar intake, alcohol, caffeine, refined carbohydrates and sodium can help reduce fluid retention, bloating, breast tenderness and irritability.  These have been associated with increased cortisol (a stress hormone) and a decrease in the feel-good hormone serotonin.  Sodium (aka salt) can lead to fluid retention, so cutting back on high salt foods and added salt may help minimise bloating and fluid retention.




While exercise doesn’t necessarily play a specific role in reducing PMS symptoms, it does have its benefits.  Exercise increases endorphins which help boost mood and increase energy.  Keeping active has so many benefits, and can make you feel good whatever the time of the month.

Last but not least, using well designed pads/tampons can help keep you feeling comfortable and secure. Dealing with your period doesn’t need to be a big deal, and a brand that knows that is U by Kotex so they’re letting you try their products out for free. Yah!    To get your free sample, simply click here.

There are other options for helping deal with PMS symptoms, but lifestyle can be a good place to start. This is just some general information, so talk to your GP if you’re experiencing symptoms, before taking supplements and if you get painful periods – sometimes there are other underlying causes.

This post was made possible thanks to U by Kotex.


Thanks to U by Kotex, I’ve got a $100 voucher for Rebel Sport to give away! We’d love you to check out  U by Kotex for a free sample then simply share this post on Facebook  using the Facebook button on top or below the post and comment below.  Competition closes 14th October 2016. Extended till the 22nd October!

NZ entries only sorry.

CONGRATULATIONS to the winner Bianca Harris.  I have emailed you regarding your prize 🙂









70 Responses to Nutrition, Lifestyle, PMS and Periods

  1. Julie September 30, 2016 at 12:23 pm #

    Great article. Happy I found your page and signed up for the emails! What a awesome prize too…. I have everything crossed to win ????????

  2. Julie September 30, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

    Oh, not sure why all the question marks on my comment. I put a smiley at the end not question marks

  3. Annette H October 2, 2016 at 9:58 pm #

    Very interesting read, deficiencies really do have a huge impact on our bodies.

  4. Holly Jamieson October 2, 2016 at 10:11 pm #

    This is really helpful for me because I’ve always had terrible PMS. I’ve noticed that eating “healthier” and exercising helps with symptoms, but I didn’t know about calcium and magnesium can have an impact – so I’ll try to increase my intake of foods containing these nutrients 🙂 U by Kotex is my favourite brand for ladies products <3 I would love to win a Rebel Sport voucher because my walking shoes have worn out, and walking is something I do regularly to stay healthy.

  5. Jessica October 2, 2016 at 11:06 pm #

    I always have PMS and hope this will help me battle with my agony…Would love to win a voucher which will go towards the buying of new walking/running shoes as mine doesn’t fit nicely on my feet. Thanks for the chance. 🙂

  6. Mia October 2, 2016 at 11:11 pm #

    I need this article – thank you! I’ve definitely taken a few key pieces of advice that I can work on ????

  7. Janet October 3, 2016 at 5:34 am #

    I find some periods worse than others. Having recently changed to using a mooncup has helped, but I have terrible periods… I am already fit and eat a well balanced diet but haven’t had almonds in a while… Kinda made something click there when you mentioned them as I use to eat about a kg a week.. Periods have been worse since I’ve stopped .. This is more a supplier issue than anything else lol.

  8. Katelyn October 3, 2016 at 10:07 am #

    Wow what a great prize! Great article too. I’d put this voucher, if I was lucky enough to win, towards some new training shoes. This week I’m finally getting dedicated to going to the gym (and my shoes are about 3 years old and very well used).

  9. Olivia October 3, 2016 at 11:25 am #

    I am finding this very interesting and have been making significant changes in diet to help this. Thank you.

  10. Jan-louise October 3, 2016 at 5:39 pm #

    Fantastic read thank you so much for sharing this! What a wonderful prize too! So pleased I have come across this page!!! #GRATEFUL XOX

  11. debbie October 3, 2016 at 8:08 pm #

    fantastic tips about nutrtion and other ways to help with pms symptoms most informative 🙂

  12. Amanda F October 9, 2016 at 12:31 pm #

    Great post as always! Exercise definitely does help with pms even if you don’t feel like doing any at the time! And nutrition has such a big role to play in every thing!

  13. Janet October 9, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

    Great tips, a good read

  14. Bonnie Coutts October 9, 2016 at 5:22 pm #

    Great blog, helpful tips!

  15. Jess harrison October 9, 2016 at 7:36 pm #

    Love using heat packs during that time of the month. I also find keeping my carbs lower helps reduce the bloating that’s made worse when I have my period

  16. Kate Hollick October 9, 2016 at 9:15 pm #

    Great article and great prize too! ????????

  17. Paula Hudson October 9, 2016 at 9:20 pm #

    Very interesting read, would love to win off to share on facebook 🙂

  18. Tracey October 9, 2016 at 9:29 pm #

    Damn all things in life are pointing to me reducing my caffeine intake.

  19. Jen October 9, 2016 at 9:31 pm #

    Would love to win X

  20. Lisa October 10, 2016 at 6:58 am #

    Very interesting and informative article some great tips to take on board. Thanks

  21. Corina October 10, 2016 at 7:36 am #

    I use Libra hotties heat patches~ such a lifesaver

  22. Sharon October 10, 2016 at 9:59 am #

    Shared, I would love to win this. I have just taken up cycling this would be great to get some activewear 🙂

  23. Jenny Lourens October 10, 2016 at 10:11 am #

    good advice, going to try xxx

  24. Stephanie Gardner October 10, 2016 at 10:17 am #

    Ooo what a handy Calcium list! Wil print that off for my times of need! haha

  25. Robyn polyblank October 10, 2016 at 10:30 am #

    All great info for a sufferer. Thanks.????

  26. Danielle ziegler October 10, 2016 at 1:53 pm #

    Yes please i would gift this to my daughter who is almost 14 and she gets them so bad and sometimes more than once in a month i feel so sorry for her… this would be amazing to win yes please 🙂

  27. Brigitt October 10, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

    I find increasing iron intake helps a lot.

  28. Kate October 10, 2016 at 10:10 pm #

    There’s magnesium in chocolate isn’t there…? 😉

  29. Sophie Addison October 11, 2016 at 4:03 am #

    I have two daughters who suffer from PMS and we have put in, for some free samples from U By Kotex. Thanks for the exrta information and the great giveaway too…:)

  30. Sophie Addison October 11, 2016 at 4:04 am #

    Whoopsy *extra

  31. Jazmin Cartney October 11, 2016 at 9:59 am #

    Love <3

  32. felicity smith October 11, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

    really interesting read. Lots of things to think about in there

  33. Maricris October 11, 2016 at 2:44 pm #

    Thanks for the info.. never thought calcium plays a big role in relieving PMS.

  34. Marlene Wakelin October 11, 2016 at 3:03 pm #

    Was very interesting reading. I’ve been taking magnesium tablets for about a month now. Have actually noticed some difference in my body. Thanks for this opportunity to enter x

  35. Tui Amohanga October 11, 2016 at 3:08 pm #

    Thanks for the interesting read, some great tips 😀

  36. ALIESHA JEFFS October 11, 2016 at 7:00 pm #

    Awesome post and article. I definitely agree with the information you have written about dealing with pre-menstrual symptoms (PMS), as yes there are definitely ways we can cope and deal with them through nutrition and lifestyle changes. I’m a Holistic Nutritionist so I have an interest and passionate about helping people realise that they can make changes so they don’t have to suffer anymore from symptoms are perceived to be normal by the general population.

  37. Sandra Grant October 11, 2016 at 11:46 pm #

    Great advice

  38. Sapphire October 12, 2016 at 9:34 am #

    Would love the give away! ????

  39. Emma van Niekerk October 12, 2016 at 10:32 am #

    So true about these points. I’m one of the odd few that prefer the silicone reusable cups for my period. Would love to see U by Kotex come out with a range of these. I can’t stand tampons but can use the cups with so much ease and you only have to empty them once a day. Convenient AND helps save the planet. Have commented and shared on Facebook 🙂 !

  40. Chelsea October 12, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

    A rebel sports voucher would be perfect for summer!

  41. Ana October 12, 2016 at 7:25 pm #

    This article is very educational and provided facts I had no idea such as the ideal amount of calcium young women like me should have. Will definitely save this link and give this page a like for future cool articles. Would be awesome to win the voucher to be able to buy more activities for me to do over the final school summer holidays I’ll ever have. Good luck to everyone else who entered and congrats to the to be winner 🙂

  42. Bindy October 12, 2016 at 8:43 pm #

    V helpful!! Would love a win!!

  43. Hannah October 13, 2016 at 7:54 am #

    What a great article!! and such an awesome prize!! Would love to win! ????

  44. Phoebe Subritzky October 13, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

    I would love to win I spend so much money a month on my period as I like having a whole lot of different items. Fingers crossed that I win

  45. Amy Crerar October 13, 2016 at 5:20 pm #

    A rebel sports voucher would be crazy wonderful – especially with summer around the corner!

  46. Hannah October 13, 2016 at 5:59 pm #

    Wow! This would be perfect and might get me some new running shoes especially considering my current ones have holes in the soles!! haha ??????????

  47. Tash October 13, 2016 at 6:44 pm #

    So interesting and full of information I didn’t know

  48. Sadhana Walsh October 13, 2016 at 9:52 pm #

    Would be perfect to get new dance work out gear !

  49. Grace October 14, 2016 at 9:21 am #

    I find that exercising really helps beat those pesky PMS symptoms! A new pair of shoes from Rebel Sports would help to get my running going when I’m feeling down 🙂

  50. Tiani October 14, 2016 at 10:05 am #

    Hopefully this will make me eat healthy. Good read and very helpful information!!

  51. Nicola October 19, 2016 at 2:58 pm #

    Very interesting to read

  52. Emily Taylor October 19, 2016 at 3:39 pm #

    Great tips thanks

  53. Bianca Harris October 19, 2016 at 5:22 pm #

    Im just coming off my contraception which has caused me to not have my period for 5 years s these tips came at the perfect time!

  54. Annette H October 19, 2016 at 7:18 pm #

    We can always make positive changes to our diet so thank you for all the tips. I am in need of new running shoes so this would be fabulous 🙂

  55. Jade October 20, 2016 at 10:57 am #

    Thanks for all the info and for the perfect timing on this article! I’m going to stock up on calcium and magnesium! 😉

  56. Amanda Foulkes October 20, 2016 at 11:00 am #

    Exercising and eating well can make such a big difference when you have your period, even if you don’t feel like doing either at the time!

  57. Rachel October 20, 2016 at 12:40 pm #

    Really informative thank you 🙂 Definitely earned something new! P.s. I love that non-animal sources of calcium are discussed!!

  58. Becky October 20, 2016 at 7:07 pm #

    Interesting, I have dairy, soy and almond allergies and probably have terrible calcium levels.

  59. Amelia Norgrove October 20, 2016 at 7:30 pm #

    Awesome article thanks 🙂

  60. megan baldwin October 20, 2016 at 9:45 pm #

    Very interesting read, Thanks

  61. Rosa Wallace October 21, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

    Such a helpful article!! I loved the calcium content bit!

  62. Anne Yabut October 21, 2016 at 2:30 pm #

    nice article

  63. Ange Beaumont October 21, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

    Very helpful read, thank you! I have shared 🙂

  64. Charmaine Willis-Croft October 22, 2016 at 6:12 am #

    Interesting read. I had no idea we needed so much calcium, great to have a list of some foods to source calcium from too, thanks.

  65. Teaghan October 22, 2016 at 9:12 am #

    Love this! I was unaware of how many more nutrients I need to eat, such a good list of nutrient rich food too 🙂

  66. Leanne le sueur October 22, 2016 at 10:01 am #

    What an awesome read!!! I think I could do with some magnesium for sure. Great tips and advice. I am very passionate about health and fitness

  67. Barbara Byrne October 22, 2016 at 10:18 am #

    Yes,will love to win rebel sports voucher, as I have 2 daughter’s.Thanks for great info.

  68. Serena October 22, 2016 at 10:18 am #

    Some really good tips here! Will be useful in the future 🙂

  69. Mary Carpenter October 23, 2016 at 5:35 pm #

    I thoroughly enjoyed this article thank you


  1. Are you in to win? Here's what's new on the blog - Eat Well NZ - October 9, 2016

    […]  Win a $100 Rebel Sport voucher, FREE tampons and how to beat PMS. Need some new workout gears for the warmer weather?  Thanks to U by Kotex, I’m giving away a voucher worth $100 at Rebel sport and sharing some advice on how to manage PMS.  Plus you can get some free U by Kotex free samples too – just sign up here then come back and enter my competition here […]

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