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When you’re menstruating, it feels as though your willpower, diet and self-control goes out the window. Apart from the guilt and bloating, giving into your seemingly insatiable cravings can make all your symptoms so much more unbearable. Aside from padlocking your pantry and fridge, there are a few things you can – more specifically eat – that will ease the headache, the moodiness, cramps, bloating and lethargy.

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1. Wine

If you needed an excuse to drink wine, here it is. Research from Women’s Health found that drinking a glass a day in the lead up to your period (or the week before) can lessen pre-period mood changes and headaches. We’ll drink to that!

2. Sweet Potatoes

You can blame those crazy cravings and manic mood swings on a lack of the brain chemical serotonin. According to Judith Wurtman, Ph.D., coauthor of The Serotonin Power Diet, “the only thing that helps—and it helps instantly—is to eat carbs, because that’s the only way the brain makes new serotonin,” says Wurtman, who adds that the serotonin boosters need to be eaten straight with no fat or protein.

3. Ginkgo Biloba

This magical little herb can reduce PMS puffiness and bloating, now that’s what we’re talking about. In a recent study that was published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, subjects took 40-milligram ginkgo tablets three times a day for two months during the last half of their menstrual cycles, while another group took placebos. The ginkgo takers reported that their PMS symptoms—including belly bloat—were about 20 percent less severe, compared with the group taking the placebo. Ginkgo biloba contains flavonoids, which reduce inflammation and increase blood flow. Both ease bloating, says lead study author Giti Ozgoli of Iran’s Shahid Beheshti Medical University.

4. Spinach

Good ol’ spinach, just another great excuse to get a big breaky for brunch this weekend! Magnesium (which spinach has plenty of) has been linked with lessening those one too many PMS symptoms. Magnesium can ease stress, headaches and make you feel more energetic.

5. Eat lean protein and fibre

Lean protein and fibre will help keep your blood sugar levels stable, in turn offsetting cravings, says Jaclyn London, M.S., R.D., a senior dietician at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC. She says this is especially important when cravings hit their peak during the afternoon hours—so try snacking on a pear with a tablespoon of almond butter, or an apple with a slice of cheese as a way to preempt that.

6. Get that extra coffee

Caffeine fiends rejoice! Your daily elixir will help make you less lethargic (duh) but will also ease cramps. “Caffeine is actually a good idea for symptoms—that’s why you find it in Midol,” she says, recommending 300 to 400 milligrams in the morning. There’s another reason coffee is great: It has a high antioxidant profile. “A little more coffee than usual is fine,” says London. “Actually, it might be a good idea.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]