It’s that time of the month and all you’re craving is chocolate, ice cream and pizza. We’re grumpy, tired and sore, and if we want a whole tub of chocolate fudge brownie ice cream, that’s what we’re going to have.
Why is it, though, that we crave these certain foods?
Contrary to what we might believe, women crave these foods, not because of our bodies ‘need’ them, but because they make us feel better.When you menstruate, your oestrogen and progesterone levels do go low and sometimes we can feel a bit more tired or a bit stressed.
“It’s probably more environmental or social programming that, when we feel stressed or tired, we tend to want to have comfort foods. This is often foods like chocolate and other sweets, as we associate those with a pick-me-up.”
Chocolate, ice cream and cakes make us feel better as they contain sugar, which as we all know has an addictive quality. That is, it’s difficult to stop at one square of chocolate and easy to inhale a whole block.
However, period cravings don’t always have to be sweet. Some women crave salty or fatty foods like chips, pizza and burgers. While eating a block of chocolate can help women to feel better before or during their period, there are ways to enjoy your favourite comfort food while at the same time ensuring you don’t overeat.
When you can’t stop thinking about pizza or a turkey sandwich on focaccia, your body could be searching for nitrogen or the amino acid tryptophan. Your body is looking to boost your mood but having too many refined carbohydrates can cause your blood sugar levels to spike, which will then instantly zap your energy levels. Reach for high-protein foods such as turkey, eggs, cashews, walnuts, cottage cheese, or beans.
Try to have plenty of these healthy foods already prepared so they’re easy choices, but don’t feel guilty about having small amounts of these treat foods.