The best way to prevent PMS

Let there be light. Some women say their symptoms worsen during winter months. Counter this with some sunlight every day, or try full-spectrum lights like those used to treat SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. (See page 100 for more information on ideal lighting.)

Fill up on skim milk. New research suggests you may avoid PMS altogether if you get the recommended doses of calcium and vitamin D. Women who had four servings per day of foods like skim milk, calcium-fortified orange juice, or low-fat yogurt had a significantly lower risk of developing PMS, says Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson, the University of Massachusetts researcher who conducted the study. Current guidelines call for women to get 1,000 milligrams of calcium (1,200for women over 50) and 400 international units of vitamin D per day.

Exercise regularly. You're more likely to have fewer symptoms if you do, says Diana L. Dell, MD, an OB/GYN at Duke University Medical School.

Be careful with caffeine. Cutting back on it may help if you have premenstrual symptoms, especially anxiety.

Schedule a massage. Stress can trigger PMS, so include some extra R & R in the days before your period.

Honor your desires. "We tend to crave the things we need," Dell says. Getting that sugar or salt fix (in moderation) can keep you feeling good.

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