Women and men share many of the same health concerns. However,
women must also contend with specific health issues raised
by their female physiology: painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea)
and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMS symptoms have long been
associated with hormonal changes, particularly elevated levels
of estrogen. It has been hypothesized that plant-based diets
may help bind estrogen, thus reducing PMS symptoms. To test
this hypothesis, 33 women followed a low-fat, vegetarian diet
for two menstrual cycles, then followed their customary diet
for two additional cycles while taking a supplement placebo
dietary regimen included grains, vegetables, legumes and fruits;
animal products, fried foods, avocados, olives, nuts, butter
and seeds were prohibited. Results showed that duration of
PMS symptoms and pain intensity (particularly behavior changes
and water retention) were significantly less during the diet
phase compared with the placebo phase. Levels of "serum
sex-hormone binding globulin," a protein known to reduce
estrogen in the bloodstream, were higher during the diet phase.
So what can you do about PMS? As these findings suggest,
PMS symptoms may be mediated by dietary influences, specifically
a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, beans and whole
grains, and low in fats, salt, sugar and caffeine. Consult
with your doctor for more information.
Barnard ND, Scialli AR, Hurlock D, et al. Diet and sex-hormone
binding globulin, dysmenorrhea, and premenstrual symptoms.
Obstetrics & Gynecology, Feb. 2000: Vol. 95, No. 2, pp245-50.
If you'd like more information on women's health, visit http://www.chiroweb.com/tyh/women.html