Do you have a spoon handy? Because this is your weapon to combat what some people call a woman's "crazy patch of the month". One of my female friends likes to describe it as the "red snapping dragon" that comes into her life. Aside from all these metaphoric adjectives, what I am talking about is otherwise known as Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS for short.
Original photo by mamamusings via Flickr CC.
PMS is now recognised by the medical world, and "refers to the range of physical and emotional symptoms that most women experience in the lead up to a period or menstruation. PMS can be managed with medications and other strategies. PMS symptoms may include bloating, acne, anxiety, depression, digestive upsets, food cravings, headaches and migraines, swollen and tender breasts, and mood changes." For more information head to the Victorian Government Department of Health website.
Photo by Wonderlane via Flickr CC.
The last thing you want is more pills to take; a dietary change can be the easiest way to combat PMS.
The spreadable contenders.
What is B6, what does it do, and how much do you need?
B6 is one of the B group vitamins and is essential to the maintenance of red blood cell metabolism, the nervous system, the immune system, and several other bodily functions; being a water soluble vitamin it leaves our body readily via the kidneys on a daily basis and requires continual replenishment.
Over time, a deficiency in vitamin B6 can lead to skin inflammation (dermatitis), dizziness, nausea, depression, confusion, convulsions, and even anaemia which many women are at risk of.
B6 treats PMS by regulating your body and its major systems, whilst keeping your immune system in check during the time where your body is under stress preparing for menstruation. You can increase your dietary intake or take supplements; either way as a woman who experiences PMS you must meet your daily intake from the 15th day through to the 28th day of your menstruation cycle. You should always check with a qualified health practitioner if this supplement will be right for you.
Children need between 0.6 to 1.3mg of B6 per day.
Adults require approximately 1.3 to 1.7mg of B6 daily, while women require approx 1.6mg daily.
Pregnant women are recommended to not take more than 1.9mg daily, and nursing mums should take no more than 2.0 mg daily.
Note that a daily intake over 250mg can lead to nerve damage.
Why are hazelnut spreads good for you? Hazelnuts make a great snack and are also a good source of potassium and copper. Dry roasted hazelnuts provide 0.62mg (31% Daily Recommended Intake) of vitamin B6 per 100 gram serving, or 0.17mg (9% DRI) per 28 grams.
So yes, a raw snack is great; but the spreads taste better and don't need to be rejected from the average diet because they are seen as unhealthy.
Choose a spread with a high content of hazelnuts such as Nutella; for every 2 glorious tablespoons (37g) you are acquiring 2% of your B6 DRI. Unfortunately Nutella is not a single solution to meet your daily needs because of its high sugar and fat content - moderation is key.
Why are peanut butter (smooth) spreads even better for you?
For every 2 tasty tablespoons (32g) you are meeting 9% of your B6 DRI. This is roughly the same as having 28g of dry roasted hazelnuts!
You are now equipped with sufficient dietary knowledge to justify your Nutella or peanut butter cravings while suffering from PMS - lick your spoon knowing that you are doing yourself some good.
Why not tell your female friends and have a fantastic Nutella & Peanut Butter themed PMS party?