Phytoestrogens are estrogen-like compounds produced by certain plants. Food sources of phytoestrogens include soy products, flaxseeds, chick peas, pinto beans, french beans, lima beans, and pomegranates. Phytoestrogens can lighten menstruation and lengthen menstrual cycles. On the other hand, researchers have found that women who were fed soy-based formulas in infancy instead of cow's milk are more likely to report heavy menstrual bleeding and painful periods in adult life.
PMS symptoms may be relieved by avoiding caffeine, sugar, salt, white flour, red meat, dairy, butter, monosodium glutamate (MSG), fried foods, and processed foods during the two weeks prior to menstruation. Food that help to fight PMS include steamed green vegetables, salad, beans, grains, and fruit. To obtain essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) women can eat flaxseeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, salmon, mackerel, and tuna.
Herbal remedies and Chinese medicine
A variety of herbal remedies may alleviate symptoms associated with menstrual problems. These include:
black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa): mood swings, tension, establishing ovulation (an important source of phytoestrogens). The German Commission E, however, states that women should not take black cohosh for menstrual problems for longer than six months because of the risk of side effects.