Dread the irritation, sadness and anger that come during your premenstrual week? Try upping your intake of iron. In a 10-year study of 3,000 women in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers found that those who got 20 mg. of non-heme iron–which is iron from supplements and non-meat food sources (like soybeans, lentils, kidney beans, tofu, spinach and fortified cereal)–daily were up to 40% less likely to experience PMS symptoms. As the researchers explain, iron helps produce serotonin, a brain chemical that balances mood. And that’s key since serotonin production drops prior to menstruation due to plunging estrogen, throwing off that balance.
Tip: Pair your non-heme iron-rich food with a food or beverage high in vitamin C, like bell peppers, tomatoes or citrus fruit, since this nutrient helps your body absorb more iron from plant-based sources.