Women who reported eating a diet rich in iron were 30- to 40-percent less likely to develop pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) than women who consumed lower amounts, according to a new study.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences and Harvard. It is one of the first to evaluate whether dietary mineral intake is associated with PMS development.

Researchers assessed the mineral intake in approximately 3,000 women Participants were free from PMS at baseline. Women in the study completed three food frequency questionnaires over the 10-year study period. After 10 years, 1,057 women were diagnosed with PMS and 1,968 remained free from PMS.

The research found that women who consumed the most non-heme iron, the form found primarily in plant foods and in supplements, had a 30- to 40-percent lower risk of developing PMS than women who consumed the lowest amount of non-heme iron.

Results appear in the early online edition of the American Journal of Epidemiology.