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The Safe Way to Lose Weight

Lose weight by eating less salt! - Go on! - Try it!

PMT Sufferers | Back to Vulnerable Groups List

PMT/PMS or Pre-Menstrual Tension/Syndrome is a syndrome of symptoms that some women experience in the week or so before their period starts. These symptoms can include any or all of abdominal bloating, mood swings, swollen ankles, weight gain, depression, headache, fatigue, breast tenderness and enlargement, tiredness, craving for sweet things, and more. Most or possibly all of these symptoms are the result of fluid retention and will be lessened or avoided by reducing salt intake to no more than 3g a day and increasing potassium intake by eating more fruit and vegetables during that part of the menstrual cycle. Bananas are a particularly suitable fruit at this time as they contain high levels of potassium and also of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), a vitamin that helps with problems of female hormone imbalance and with breast tenderness and pain.

PMT varies from woman to woman and over time. But the simple explanation is that the reason the fluid retention occurs is that in that part of the cycle - 'that time of the month', as we say - the changes in hormone levels cause the muscles in the walls of the blood vessels to relax. They can then easily become distended if salty food is eaten, because salt enters the bloodstream and takes water with it. So there is a greater volume of blood during this time, and it is this extra blood volume that accounts for the weight gain. The hormone levels are different again when the period starts, and these changed levels of hormone allow the blood vessel walls to tighten up again and squeeze out the extra salt and water from the blood stream. This extra salt and water is then excreted in the urine and the weight that was gained is lost again.

Avoiding all the recurring bodily changes by the dietary measures I have recommended would obviously be good for the physical and emotional health of women who currently experience PMT.

See also my Fat Retention page.

And please read my Disclaimer.


I have modified my original belief that the excess fluid is all in the blood vessels. I now believe that most is in the blood vessels, while some may be in the abdominal cavity (ascites), and some in the body tissues.

Low sodium in foods?

If you're unsure about which foods contain a lot of salt/sodium then click on the 'Sodium in Foods' link in the list of links on the left of each page.