Periods tend to be synonymous with food cravings.
Cookies, chips, pizza they’re period cravings that almost everyone has. The menstrual cycle acts as a break from routine food and diet. Ice cream, cake and chocolate tend to replace the fruits, dal and veggies in our fridge.
Why Do We Get Cravings On Our Period?
Cravings during periods are associated with changes in hormone levels. When the levels of estrogen and progesterone are offset, our food cravings start kicking in. This is also a common symptom of premenstrual syndrome. Food becomes a way for us to deal with PMS symptoms during our cycle. When you eat starchy and sweet food, the body releases serotonin. This is one of your happy hormones which is bound to improve your terrible mood during this otherwise irritable time.
What Are The Most Common Period Cravings?
So you’re craving a rich chocolate decadent cake one moment and the next you want something salty like a packet of chips. Cravings during periods can be inexplicably confusing. Some of the most common cravings are:
1. Sugar Cravings- Sugar cravings are extremely common during your cycle. A drop in your blood sugar levels leads to a spike in your craving for sugar. Chocolate, which is also high in magnesium also helps relieve period cramps. This explains those constant chocolate binges, doesn’t it?
2. Salty Food- Oftentimes craving salty food such as chips is also common during your period. A possible explanation for this salt craving is that it improves serotonin levels in the body, thus leading to a happier mood. Eating salty food however can often lead to bloating and can make you feel dehydrated.
So, should you solely eat what you crave? Or, are there any foods that are recommended for you to eat when you’re menstruating? A few food items, if eaten during menstruation, can improve your diet and ensure that you’re intaking all required vitamins and minerals during this time.
What Food Should I Eat When I Am On My Period?
While your period food cravings get stronger with each passing day, here are some food options that are highly advisable to consume when menstruating.
1. Leafy Vegetables- Vegetables such as spinach will help boost your iron levels, which are generally low on your cycle. What’s even better? Spinach is also high in magnesium which aids in cramp relief.
2. Chicken- For those of you who consume meat, in addition to being protein rich, chicken is a great way to remain full and satiated on your cycle. Protein rich vegetarian options include soy products such as tofu.
3. Fruits- Fruits like watermelon are high in vitamins as well as water content. These will help you stay hydrated and can also satisfy your sugar cravings.
4. Dark Chocolate- Do you have intense cravings for chocolate on your period? If you don’t want to binge on milk chocolate, try out dark chocolate as an alternative! It will help satisfy your hunger while being a healthier alternative.
Consuming these foods will guarantee that you’re providing your body with what it needs during this time. But this doesn’t mean you can’t indulge!
Should I Give In To My Cravings?
It's completely okay to go on a full fast-food rampage and eat everything in sight! Remember that your menstrual cravings are a symptom of what your body needs and indulging every now and then is harmless. However, it is important to be mindful of what you’re fuelling your body with. You can’t just be surviving on cake and chocolate during your period, can you?
How Can I Manage Period Cravings?
While indulging in your periods is extremely normal. In case your cravings persist for longer periods of time, you can adapt to the following:
1. Balanced Diet- Ensure that you are eating a balanced diet filled with vegetables and fruits instead of solely binging on junk.
2. Hydration- Make sure that you’re consuming plenty of water and keeping yourself hydrated, this also helps with the bloating that comes with your period. Being a water enthusiast has a ton of benefits!
3. Physical Activity- Ensure that you’re moving your body and are getting some form of exercise during your period. Exercise can help improve your mood and also the link between mental health and menstrual health. Talk about killing two birds with one stone!
4. Healthy Alternatives- Substitute that tub of ice cream with some dark chocolate instead. Pick out some healthy alternatives to the usual cravings that you have. This serves the dual purpose of satisfying your cravings while being healthy.
While period food cravings can seem to be all consuming, do not actively restrict yourself from eating what you’re craving. Moderation is the key! Remember that this is the time to be in touch with your body, listen to what it needs and indulge when you need to. After all, a little chocolate hurts no one ;)
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This blog is written by Sarah Abraham