Iron May Prevent PMS

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Women will be happy to hear about new research from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Harvard. Consuming more iron, whether through food or supplements, may be the key to preventing pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). Another way to fight off unwanted symptoms may be to add more zinc. Could this be the end of bloating, mood swings and breast tenderness?

Researchers studied women 3,000 women who didn't experience PMS over the course of ten years. They monitored their diets and any changes in psychological and physiological symptoms they experienced. After those ten years, 1,057 women were diagnosed with PMS versus 1,968 who weren't. After analyzing the mineral intake of the women, they compared the PMS group with the non-PMS group and found that those who had diets high in non-heme, or plant-based, iron were between 30 and 40 percent less likely to experience PMS symptoms. That means loading up on beans.

They also found that zinc, the stuff you take to avoid an oncoming cold, can boost resistance to PMS, too. Still, the study authors say shouldn't grab all the iron pills off the shelves. Consuming more than the recommended daily allowance of iron can have negative health effects. Their mineral analysis also indicated that potassium is a big contributor to the onset of PMS, so lowering your intake when you're getting close to your period may be a good idea as well. Since there's still more research to be done on the connection between iron and PMS, the team of researchers is saying women should just focus on getting the recommended daily allowances of iron and zinc.

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