There are lots of benefits to eating a low fat, plant based diet. Women who change their diet in this way frequently notice that they no longer have PMS or cramps that they once experienced. Wow! I wish I had known that when I was twenty. A study in the journal “Obstetrics and Gynecology” discovered this too. Dr, Neal Barnard, who is a nutrition researcher and author, said, “Approximately 10 percent of all women suffer such severe pain during their menstrual cycles that they’re forced to miss work and other activities.” It seems that chemicals called prostaglandins made from fat stores are part of the cause of the pain. Dr. Barnard reasoned that if women consumed less fat they could decrease prostaglandin production.
Well, he was correct. Of the 33 women who participated in the 1997-1998 study showed a dramatic improvement in their monthly symptoms. For some women the pain was gone or dramatically reduced. Most of them reported fewer PMS problems such as water retention and concentration problems. This was the result after only two months on the low fat, plant based diet. Those are pretty quick results. The “side effects” were stunning as well: lower cholesterol levels, more energy, and weight loss. In the study the women were to alternate between the low fat diet and their regular diet every two months. Unfortunately for the researchers some women had such exciting “side effects” that they refused to go off the low fat diet when it was their turn to switch. Hmmm… that says a lot! And can you blame them? Who wants to eat things that cause pain and unpleasant symptoms?
You know, dietary control of pain goes further than just PMS. The cause of pain associated with other sicknesses and diseases can also be alleviated with dietary changes along with exercise and other recommendations. Dr. Barnard has written a book called “Foods that Fight Pain” and in it he discusses dietary changes for a variety of medical conditions including arthritis, headaches, fibromyalgia, cancer pain, herpes and shingles, kidney stones and urinary infections. (See the Food Coach Bookshelf at www.askthefoodcoach.com) Isn’t it exciting to discover that we really have some control over our health and we have lots of information we can really use… And remember… the side effects associated with excellent dietary changes are amazing!!