So it’s that time of the month again and you would kill for some french fries or maybe a cookie. Whatever it is, its most likely not kale, am I right ;)?
Why do we crave junk food on our period? Most blame your hormones. In short, cortisol spikes and serotonin levels plummet. We reach for a quick fix to boost those levels because it may make you feel happy or relaxed in the short term. However, a crash is guaranteed and thus a vicious cycle is created. On the other hand, it might not be your hormones at all. Some researchers have found that we allow ourselves to indulge in things we normally wouldn’t like that piece of cake during our period. No judgment here!
What does it mean when you have a major sweet tooth during PMS? Well, one study about PMS Symptoms shows that it could be because your body produces a higher level of estrogen. This also means that you have higher levels of a hunger hormone called leptin. 50% of people say they crave chocolate before and during their period. It’s no wonder! Chocolate has been shown to increase the production of endorphins, one of the “feel-good” chemicals in the brain. Eating chocolate can actually reduce pain, diminish stress, and boost your mood.
Sugar cravings can also mean unbalanced blood sugar, a chromium deficiency, or a magnesium deficiency. Those nutrients are necessary for sugar to get inside cells. Eat more nuts, seeds, buckwheat, broccoli, and peas to increase chromium levels. Magnesium often depletes when we are stressed which could explain why we’re not quite ourselves during that time of the month. PMS mood swing anyone? We reach for sugary foods for a quick burst of energy, but what we should really be having is some raw cacao, which is rich in magnesium. Some other good sources are bananas, soybeans, and tuna.
Want salty, carby foods like potato chips? It could mean that you have low levels of serotonin. Serotonin, another “feel-good” chemical in the brain, is generally lower when we are getting ready to start our period. And guess what, we need carbs to make serotonin. Craving salt during your period could also be a sign of adrenal fatigue. Basically, when we’ve been stressed for a while, our cortisol starts to take from a hormone called aldosterone, which is essential for sodium conservation. We excrete more salt, and therefore crave more salt. The best salts to consume are mineralized salts found in fruits, veggies, and seafood.
No matter what your craving we have some tips to help PMS from sabotaging your diet:
#1 Eat 6 small meals. It can regulate blood sugar and help keep cravings at bay.
#2 Include protein at every meal. It will slow down the digestive process and keep you full longer.
#3 Get some vitamin D. Lack of sunshine can reduce serotonin levels even more so be sure to get outside and soak up some rays.
#4 Exercise. Being physically active can increase endorphins and decrease appetite.
#5 Up your magnesium intake. Eat foods like bananas or tuna that are high in magnesium. Or feel free to indulge in those chocolate cravings, just make it dark chocolate.