If you’ve ever felt a sudden urge to eat something sweet or salty before your period, you’re not alone. It's normal to experience cravings during your menstrual cycle, and there are scientific reasons why they happen. In this blog post, we'll explore the causes behind period food cravings so that you can better understand what you're going through and how to manage them.
The most common explanation for why period food cravings occur is due to hormonal fluctuations. When estrogen and progesterone levels dip before a period begins, some people may be more likely to reach for sweet foods or salty snacks. This could be because these hormones help regulate blood sugar, which can cause mood swings if it drops too low. Additionally, when hormone levels drop, this can also lead to fatigue and hunger pangs that might make it harder for women to resist their cravings.
In addition to biological causes of period food cravings, cultural influences may also play a role in why certain foods seem more appealing during certain times of the month. For example, the menstrual chocolate craving. Dark chocolate has long been associated with PMS symptoms due to its antioxidant content, which can help reduce inflammation associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Similarly, salty foods like chips and french fries have become popular go-to snacks when women experience PMS symptoms like bloating and cramping.
For further reading check out this study: "Does culture create craving? Evidence from the case of menstrual chocolate craving"
Women who experience period food cravings may also simply be trying to fulfill nutritional needs that are not being met by their regular food intake. Eating foods rich in complex carbohydrates (whole grains), green leafy vegetables (spinach), healthy fats (nuts), and lean proteins (tofu) can help keep blood sugar levels stable while providing essential vitamins and minerals that the body needs in order to function optimally. Additionally, drinking plenty of water throughout the day—at least 8 glasses—can help prevent dehydration and improve digestion as well as overall health for those experiencing food cravings during their menstrual cycle.
For further reading check out this study: "Menstrual cycle hormones, food intake, and cravings."
Period food cravings can be caused by hormonal fluctuations as well as cultural influences on eating habits. Understanding why these cravings happen is important so that you can better manage them in a way that works best for your body's individual needs. Eating nutrient-rich foods like whole grains, green leafy vegetables, nuts, lean proteins, and plenty of water will help keep you full while providing essential vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal bodily functioning!