Do you have food cravings before your period and find it hard to stick to your diet? Well, you are not alone.
Many women have food cravings leading up to their periods. There are very good physiological reasons for these cravings, so perhaps you need to stop blaming yourself for breaking that diet.
If you suffer from PMS/PMT why not keep track of your PMS symptoms. If you suffer from bloating, depression, food cravings, breast tenderness etc write it down where you keep track of your periods. You may be surprised at how linked they are. Food cravings are often a way for the body to compensate for missing nutrients that it needs. For example eating foods containing magnesium and potassium is helpful if you have a tendency towards depression during your period. Low serotonin levels also play a part in depression, and eating chocolate and carbohydrates can help raise your serotonin levels.
Many of us really crave chocolate just before our period is due. This is because chocolate contains tryptophan which helps the release of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is one of the mood enhancers of the brain, and as we often feel moody around our period, eating chocolate really can make us feel better!
Because of other properties that are in chocolate, like potassium, phosphorus, copper, iron, zinc, and magnesium many doctors recommend that one square of dark bitter chocolate a day can actually be good for your general health. It has been shown that dark chocolate can help raise your good cholesterol HDL levels and lower the bad cholesterol (LDL), making chocolate very good for your heart.
However this doesn’t mean you can justify eating a whole bar!
You may find that if you eat more dark chocolate before your period that it will help to alleviate your PMS symptoms. To be of benefit chocolate needs to be about 60% or more cocoa content. Good old Cadbury’s Dairy Milk just isn’t good enough. Choose Belgian chocolate or other bitter dark chocolate for your chocolate treat.
Many women also crave carbs leading up to their periods. This is also seen by some doctors as a form of self-medication. If one of your symptoms of PMS is depression, carbohydrates generally help increase serotonin levels in the brain which helps relieve a low mood. Many women comfort eat when things get too much and carbs are often easy to eat ‘comfort foods’ with high fat content. With moodiness combined with our period, and it’s no wonder we reach for a cream cake or extra helping of potatoes. If you understand why you are having these cravings it will help you to not feel so guilty.
Watching Your Weight
If you have PMS indulge yourself a bit before your period even if you are watching your weight. Allow yourself some chocolate or carb treats. Make sure these are the foods you really enjoy the most and take your time to eat them slowly, enjoying every mouthful. Buy the best quality dark chocolate you can afford and savour it. Have a piece of cake, but make sure you really enjoy it properly. This will help prevent you binging. During the rest of the month you will find it easier to stick to any diet you are on. If you also take more exercise you will help increase your serotonin levels throughout the month.
Periods are normal, but really suffering every month isn\’t.
So show your PMS chart to your GP at your next appointment. It will help your doctor to give you the right treatment.