Women who eat plenty of vegetables high in iron are less likely to suffer from pre-menstrual stress (PMS), research shows.
In one of the first studies to look at the link between mineral intake and the severity of PMS symptoms, American researchers from the University of Massachusetts and Harvard examined the diets of about 3000 women over a decade.
Participants were PMS-free at the beginning of the study and every few years their mineral intake was assessed in food frequency questionnaires. After 10 years, 1,057 were confirmed as PMS cases and 1,968 as controls, Medical Daily reported.
The results, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, showed a very high correlation between eating veggies high in iron and low risk of developing PMS symptoms.
The main role of iron is to help red blood cells transport oxygen around the body and to regulate cell growth. There are two types of iron: heme, which comes from meat and non-heme, which comes from plant sources and is more easily absorbed by the body.
Women with the highest intake of iron-filled veggies were almost 40 per cent less likely to get PMS than those ladies who ate the least.
A high intake of zinc also helped beat PMS symptoms, although not as affective as iron.
The recommended daily iron intake for most woman is 18mg, according to the NZ Nutrition Foundation.
The foundation suggests non-heme iron sources like tofu, red kidney beans, red lentils, chickpeas, broccoli, dates and spinach.