You might be a fitness-conscious person who sticks to healthy food and follows an exercise regime, but when PMS wreaks havoc, it’s hard to stay focused. Celery and carrot sticks give way to humungous bowls of pasta or ice-cream, and you end up feeling miserable but have no control over your cravings. Does it sound familiar? Among the PMS symptoms that are largely seen in women, food cravings rank amongst the top. You suddenly have a ravenous appetite and feel anxious and stressed since your hormones, including estrogen and progesterone, go topsy-turvy.
The urge to have rich, fatty foods is triggered by the brain and not your taste buds. When you want to reach out for that bar of chocolate, it reflects the brain’s need to make serotonin. Studies show that when people indulge in a carb overload, they are generally stressed, irritable, angry, or just feeling a little down. The fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone affect the levels of serotonin, especially during the luteal phase or right before your period. Once you gobble down sugary food, there’s a spike in serotonin and you instantly feel better (though that’s just temporary!).
What one craves
During that ‘time of the month’, a woman’s need to consume food high in Magnesium rises in a dramatic manner. No wonder, women crave chocolate close to their periods! Unfortunately, most of the chocolate bars available in supermarkets do not have a natural Magnesium content. If at all one really craves chocolate, it is better to have a piece of dark chocolate rather than any other variety.
When a woman goes through her menstrual cycle every month, she not only sheds her uterine lining but also cleanses toxins and processes emotions. This requires a huge amount of energy, which translates into uncontrollable food cravings. Of course, you must listen to your body and nourish it, but with healthy food, not SUGAR! We reach out for those sugar-laden goodies because we want a quick energy boost. On the contrary, you end up in a vicious cycle and keep craving for more sugar!
For some women, salt is their go-to option. Generally, the cortisol hormone is essential for our survival but if you’ve been reeling under stress for a long time, it starts to affect aldosterone levels in our body. That hormone causes us to excrete more salt than we must, which is why some women crave more salt than others during their periods!
Satisfy your cravings
There’s really no point killing your cravings completely, but exercise in moderation and you’ll be good! We do know how periods are a pain sometimes (literally), so we don’t want to make it unbearable. Try and incorporate these little steps during your menstrual cycle and you are sure to feel a lot better:
Choose the right carbs
We do know how your brain is calling out to those carbs, but don’t we all have an option to choose the good ones? Of course, we do! Instead of those creamy pastas and greasy pizzas, reach out for some healthy foods like sweet potato, chickpeas, or devour some yoghurt with banana slices. Believe it or not, it will make you feel really satisfied!
Eat more during the day
Yes, you heard it right! Generally, we follow a traditional plan of eating three meals a day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are large gaps in between that make you feel hungry and you tend to give in to junk food. Instead, have six small meals of healthy foods in a day to keep your blood sugar stable. This will result in fewer cravings!
Move your body
We know you don’t feel like moving at all, but if you do, things will look up! Exercise is a great stress-buster and releases endorphins that leads to a decrease in appetite. In fact, try to move around a little more than usual. Take a walk in the park during lunch breaks or run with your dog. You don’t have to make it boring!
Consume more Magnesium
Since your body is undergoing fluctuations in hormones, you require a greater intake of magnesium to combat these. Instead of those huge bars of chocolate, include foods rich in Magnesium such as peanut butter, sunflower seeds, almonds, and brown rice. This will eventually help control your insulin production and reduce sugar cravings!
Drink more water
When you hydrate your body, you automatically don’t feel the need to gobble junk food! This is because water keeps your body flushed and reduces bloating. In a nutshell, it reduces the urge to give in to your cravings and you don’t feel too crappy about it!
Now we do know how PMS cravings are a real thing and it happens to all of us! There’s no harm giving in to cravings once in a while but not all the time, ladies! Do not kill your urges, just be mindful. After all, there’s no greater joy than good health!