Why Do Women Crave Chocolate During Their Period?
That time of the month rolls around, and you find yourself reaching for a candy bar. In addition to the many unpleasant symptoms that accompany PMS, increased cravings for sweet treats can throw off your diet or health. So, why do women crave chocolate during their period and is it actually a bad thing?
What causes the chocolate cravings?
Women tend to crave chocolate at the start of their menstrual cycles. During this time, their hormones are at higher levels, triggered by an increase in insulin. The increase in insulin can also lead to a drop in blood sugar. When your blood sugar is low, you’ll find yourself craving a candy bar or a piece of chocolate.
Also, during this time your levels of progesterone and estrogen drop, which makes you hungry. These hormones affect most of your body, and they undergo a major change during your regular menstrual cycle. However, they are not the only factor that leaves us craving chocolate.
When you are PMSing, or even if you are just experiencing a bad cramp, your body wants calcium, sugar, and carbs. Those three ingredients are usually combined in chocolate. Your body isn’t actually begging you to eat a chocolate bar, but it is asking for those ingredients.
Almost half of American women experience an intensified craving for chocolate during their perimenstrual days, so you are not alone. Chocolate is already one of the most craved-for foods, and it is no wonder we want to reach for it when we’re not feeling our best. Chocolate is often paired with the feeling of bliss, so we are already prone to crave it when we are seeking emotional benefits as well.
Is chocolate good for you during your period?
Unfortunately, it may not be best to reach for chocolate every time those period cravings hit. While you can certainly enjoy chocolate in proper moderation, overindulging is never a good thing. The stimulant in chocolate, called theobromine, can cause additional pain and make you uncomfortable.
Also, chocolate that is extremely sweet may cause you to feel more emotional than usual. When sugar, caffeine, and theobromine mix in larger quantities, your emotions can easily get all messed up. If you find yourself craving super sweet chocolate during your period, you should probably try taking a calcium supplement instead. Of course, it isn’t going to taste as great as chocolate, but it will give your body what it is craving.
Dark chocolate is the exception
As usual, dark chocolate comes in to save the day. If you choose dark chocolate with 70% cocoa or more, you can actually receive some benefits during your period. Dark chocolate has been found to promote muscle relaxation, which can help with cramps and soreness. It can also help you reduce pain by boosting your endorphins.
Dark chocolate contains omega-3 and omega-6 as well as magnesium, which can help improve your mood. You won’t be left suffering from a sugar high and crash like you would with super sweet chocolate. Dark chocolate can potentially lower your stress level while boosting your mood.
There are some studies that have found that dark chocolate has the ability to improve your skin in some cases. For many women, their period also brings about unwanted breakouts or worsened acne. It is possible that dark chocolate can help benefit your skin.
If you feel particularly fatigued during your period, dark chocolate may be able to help with that too. There is a good amount of iron in dark chocolate, and a lack of iron is one of the common reasons that women feel tired when they are on their period. Eating dark chocolate can help make up for the iron you are missing and help you feel more energized.
If you really want to eat some super sweet chocolate while you’re on your period, go ahead. Enjoying chocolate in moderation should not cause any major side effects or worsen the symptoms of your period. However, if you find yourself really craving chocolate during this time, you should start reaching for 70% dark chocolate instead. The health benefits of dark chocolate are impressive, and it does not put you at risk for worsen pain or discomfort during your period.