Tucking into a salad could slash a woman's chance of developing PMTEating foods high in non-heme iron could cut PMS risk by 40 per cent, according to American researchersThis could be because iron is involved in serotonin production and serotonin regulates mood
Eating too much iron can be very harmful
13:10 GMT, 27 February 2013
13:22 GMT, 27 February 2013
Women who eat plenty of leafy green vegetables could cut their risk of pre-menstrual syndrome by up to 40 per cent, according to researchers.
The scientists were investigating the effects of non-heme iron, which is the type typically found in plant foods.
They found over a 10 year period the women who consumed the most of this mineral in their diets had the lowest chance of developing PMS.
Women who eat plenty of leafy green vegetables could cut their risk of pre-menstrual syndrome by up to 40 per cent
The team based at the University of Massachusetts and at Harvard, believe this is because the iron is involved in the
production of serotonin, a chemical that helps to regulate mood.
PMS is the name given to the various symptoms that can occur in the two weeks before a woman's monthly period. These include fluid retention, breast tenderness, mood swings, feeling irritable and loss of interest in sex.
The study, which is one of the first to evaluate whether mineral intake is associated with PMS development, looked at 3,000 women.
All of the women who took part were free from PMS symptoms at the start of the study.
They completed food frequency questionnaires throughout the 10 year trial at the end of which 1,057 women were diagnosed with PMS while 1,968 remained symptom free.
The researchers, who published their findings in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that the women who ate the most non-heme iron were much less likely to develop the condition.
WHICH FOODS ARE RICH IN NON-HEME IRON
Dark, leafy greens
Iron enriched cereals
Beans, lentils and chick peas
Broccoli and green beans
Senior author Dr Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson said: ‘Our findings need to be replicated in other studies. However, women at risk of PMS should make sure they are meeting the RDA for non-heme iron and zinc.
‘The level of iron intake at which we saw a lower risk of PMS, roughly greater than 20mg per day, is higher than the current recommended daily allowance for iron for premenopausal women, which is 18 mg per day.
‘However, as high iron intake may have adverse health consequences, women should avoid consuming more than the tolerable upper intake level of 45mg per day unless otherwise recommended by a physician.’
Excessive consumption of iron can, in some people, cause hemochromatosis which occurs when, over many years, iron builds up in organ tissue.
In its most serious form the condition can cause diabetes, liver cancer, arthritis and heart failure.