PMS

Updated 09 September 2016

Ever wondered why you crave chocolate during PMS?

It’s that time of the month and all you want is a huge chocolate bar, or two. Here's why.

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Some women develop insatiable cravings for chocolate during PMS. This could be the reason why you single handedly scoff down an entire slab of chocolate (or more) every month before your period. 

Once a month during menses most women experience a combination of the following: bloating, mood swings, depression, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, cramping  and/or the insatiable craving for chocolate. 

Read: Why do some women get 'bad' PMS and others don’t?

PMS cravings

Many women experience all or some of these emotional and physical symptoms related to the menstrual cycle in the seven to 10 days before the onset of their period, which may continue during and after menstruation.

Whether you naturally have a sweet tooth or not is not a contributing factor to why you crave chocolate during PMS.

Why the craving for chocolate?

High hormone levels during the early part of the menstrual cycle cause an increase in insulin. Insulin regulates your blood glucose levels. The high level of insulin in your body then results in low blood sugar, and this is the real reason why most women crave something sweet.  

Commonly chocolate is the go-to solution, which is your body's way to try and balance hormones. 



Read: When PMS is more severe than usual

Other reasons

You may also crave simple carbs, sugars and fats when serotonin is low, as these foods can elevate serotonin levels quickly – albeit briefly. It is thought women specifically crave chocolate due to its ability to mimic serotonin and release endorphins, which may decrease depression and anxiety.

However, serotonin, known as the feel-good hormone, can in addition to the consumption of certain foods also be increased by exercise. 

And instead of bingeing on chocolate, increasing the intake of complex carbohydrates such as whole grains will help counter fluctuating blood sugar levels, which in turn helps lessen cramps. Fighting the urge for sweets by supplementing them with whole grains along with calcium and magnesium supplements is essential during PMS – which is true for the entire menstrual period.

 


Read more:

SA women silently suffering from this devastating condition

New recommendation: antidepressants for PMS

Top tips for beating PMS now

References:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/comfort-cravings/201402/why-do-i-crave-chocolate-during-my-period

http://www.livestrong.com/article/110754-chocolate-menstrual-cramps/

https://emerita.com/chocolate/