All about periods
February 05, 2020

Food cravings during periods, why do I crave chocolate

Is it normal to have food cravings during periods?

Do you recognize yourself in this situation – food cravings during periods? Our menses are just about to start and all we are craving is chocolate, ice cream or chips. We are more irritable and tired and we want just to lay in our beds and eat a whole tub of chocolate fudge brownie ice cream or a whole chocolate bar.

There’s something about the days before and during our period that makes chocolate, ice cream and chips even more tempting.

Is there a good reason why we are craving these foods?

It turns out those strong food cravings aren’t just in our head, the need to find all the carbs, fats, and sugary snacks in our kitchen before and during our periods is not only normal but is also a weird way our body responds to internal hormonal changes. So take your time, grab that chocolate bar and relax.

During menstruation, oestrogen and progesterone levels go low and sometimes we can feel a bit more tired or a bit stressed.

It’s probably more environmental or social programming that, when we feel stressed or tired, we want to reach for the so-called comfort foods. That chocolate, ice cream or cake makes us feel better because they contain sugar, which has an addictive quality, meaning, it’s difficult to stop at one square of chocolate and we can easily eat the whole thing.

However, period cravings aren’t always about sweets. Some of us crave salty or fatty foods such as chips, pizza and burgers.

Research suggests that we tend to crave more sweet treats. But, if you’re a person who goes for those salty, fatty foods as your pick-me-ups then those would be the comfort foods you will want on your period.

While eating a block of chocolate can help us feel better before or during our period, we can enjoy comfort foods while at the same time ensuring we don’t overeat. When we are menstruating we need to recognise that these cravings might happen, so instead of buying big blocks of chocolate let’s choose small size bars.

To make sure we are getting important nutrients during menstruation, we should mix it up with some fresh, whole foods to have with our sweet treat. During menstruation, we shed a lining of the uterus and cleanse toxins that may have been ignored during the month prior. This requires a lot of energy, therefore, we find hunger increasing premenstrually. Let’s listen to our hunger signals and give our body the nourishment it is asking. We should eat when we feel hungry and make sure to consume enough protein and healthy fats a week before our period to reduce sugar and carbohydrate cravings.

What does chocolate cravings tell me about my nutritional needs?

The need for Magnesium increases between ovulation and menstruation as the body looks to replenish its stores by craving high Magnesium foods. Funnily enough, cocoa beans are high in Magnesium which is why a lot of us usually crave chocolate close to our periods. We can choose a healthier version of chocolate – dark and minimally processed to curb our cravings. Some other foods that are high in Magnesium are green veggies or oats. Magnesium intake can help decrease some menstrual symptoms like cramping, constipation, insomnia, headaches, and anxiety.

Some of us might crave more food just before our period because we need more B vitamins like thiamine (vitamin B1) and riboflavin (vitamin B2). Upping the intake of these vitamins can help us feel better during our periods. Great sources of vitamin B are beans, nuts, grains and nutritional yeast for vitamin B1 and green veggies like broccoli, spinach, kale and asparagus for vitamin B2.

How can we overcome the monthly period cravings?

Overcome stress

Stress can lead to emotional eating. We can exercise, practise relaxation techniques, and maintain a positive outlook to help manage stress and reduce our food cravings during periods.

PMS-friendly food

If you want to reduce the irritability, bloating, and cramping every month, here is a list of 7 foods that can help you fight PMS.

  • Dark Chocolates is rich in Magnesium
  • Wild Salmon has Vitamin D
  • Broccoli is rich in calcium and vitamins A, C, B6, and E
  • Pumpkin Seeds contain more Magnesium
  • Eggs are a good source of vitamins D, B6, and E
  • Peanuts and peanut butter are the best foods for vitamin B6 and Magnesium
  • Bananas are rich in vitamin B6 and potassium
  • Chamomile tea relieves muscle spasms and reduces the severity of menstrual cramps

Changing levels of hormones often cause food cravings during periods or a general increase in our appetite. Remember that craving for all those carbs, fats, and sugary snacks from your kitchen before and during your periods is completely normal. It is just a weird way our body reacts to internal hormonal changes. So kick back, grab that dark chocolate and relaxing chamomile tea. Just concentrate on the tips discussed in this article and you will be ready for your next periods.

Read also about healthy lifestyle during pregnancy here.