Periods & Food Cravings

How to prepare yourself!

Most women have menstrual cycle every 28 days or so. In the days before their period, women might find they're anxious, irritable or want certain foods. These changes are known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS) cravings and mood swings. Often these stop when menstrual bleeding starts.

Cravings during our menstrual cycle are normally due to hormone imbalance.  A lot is going on in your body at this time and these imbalances can be a nightmare for your mood. Cortisol (stress hormone) rises while serotonin (helps to regulate your mood) decreases. Basically, the worst possible scenario! And if that wasn't enough, the body can struggle with regulating your sugar level resulting in cravings.

Nutritional deficiencies can prolong the craving stage.  For example, your body has to create new red blood cells when you are menstruating. To do this, it needs vitamins and minerals that include B12, folic acid and iron. Low iron levels can cause those cravings along with dizziness, headaches, tiredness and irritability. 

There are other vitamins that fluctuate throughout your cycle, these include calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Calcium and phosphorus can be found in dairy products and magnesium can be found in chocolate and some women experience high levels of estradiol and leptin. These would give you cravings for very sweet or carbohydrate foods.

So basically, it's not an easy ride.  Especially when you are trying so hard to lose fat. Although it doesn't have to be impossible.  Look to foods that are going to give you the vitamins and minerals to give you a fighting chance to not bite someone's head off! Depending on your cravings, here is a list of great foods to help you:

Chocolate: Don't go for the standard high fat and sugar bars. Look for dark chocolate. The higher the percentage of cocoa the better. Not only is it rich you can't eat a lot of it.

Crisps: Try some baked crisps, nuts or flax seeds

Sweets: Dates are great for satisfying your sweet tooth. Try this quick and easy recipe that you can keep in the fridge and eat at any time.