Any woman who’s suffered from hormones running amok can testify that premenstrual syndrome is no fun. Searching for a way to beat PMS can lead straight to superfood Maca, which is gaining popularity.  Maca is great at countering the irritability, depression and mood swings that come along with PMS. The powder supplement is “the perfect hormone-balancing food, excellent for headaches and PMS,” says one fertility specialist. Leveling out hormones makes Maca a whiz at enhancing fertility and boosting the libido. Here’s another bonus: women who are seeing signs of acne because they’ve stopped taking birth-control pills will find Maca is great for the skin.

Dr. Nat Kringoudis recommends Maca for relieving the stress that she thinks is one of the major contributors to PMS. “During PMS, stress can impact our body’s ability to regulate hormones effectively – the additional cortisol and other stress hormones can upset functioning levels of progesterone,” she says. That’s bad because progesterone is the “feel good” hormone. When progesterone levels dive too low too fast “it can feel like PMS is getting the best of us.”

Maca is full of vitamins and minerals as well as enzymes and amino acids. “Maca gets the title of a superfood because it delivers on the nutrition front,” Dr. Nat Kringoudis says. The supplement stimulates the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, which are two very important glands in regulating hormones. The root also is loaded with iron, potassium and vitamin C.

“It’s full of B vitamins, which are good for energy, and magnesium – one of my favorite all-round period fixers,” says the fertility specialist. Dr. Kringoudis recommends the supplement especially for headaches in the premenstrual phase as well as for menopausal issues.

Maca adjusts your body’s hormone levels depending on your individual requirements and helps your body create the hormones it needs. Instead of delivering a “hit” of hormones, the root gets your body to adapt and do the work of producing hormones.

The root resembles a potato although it’s a member of the radish family. Maca grows in the mountains of Peru and is known as the “Peruvian ginseng.” Dr. Kringoudis recommends introducing Maca into the diet slowly. “Too much too soon can have you bouncing off the walls since it boosts energy and can swiftly kick the hormones into gear leaving you feeling the effects,” she says. “Ordinarily, I add Maca to my smoothies, although in winter I sprinkle it over yogurt.

There are other things you can do to regulate your hormones and reduce feelings of nausea, bloating and irritability. “Drink chamomile tea, as it will help to keep you calm and can also help alleviate cramping associated with menstrual bleeding,” says the fertility expert. Her other tips include getting some gentle exercise into your day, taking it easy and making rest a priority. She also recommends bathing with lavender oil. “This is an instant mood lifter as well as tension ease,” Dr. Kringoudis says.