It’s that time of the month again and you have a case of the munchies. All you want to do is stuff your face with anything covered in chocolate and loaded with sugar. Maybe some cookie dough ice cream and fries for dinner? It’s easy to fall victim to those vicious cravings during premenstrual syndrome, also known as PMS, and during your period. For some women, these unhealthy cravings can last up to two weeks each time they have their periods.
Scientists have found that women eat unhealthily during PMS and their period because of emotional distress that occurs involuntarily due to hormonal imbalances. During PMS, the decline in hormones allows for brain chemicals that support mood, such as serotonin and dopamine, to decline. A woman’s body then craves foods that increase these chemicals in the brain, such as chocolate for dopamine and starchy foods for serotonin.
Steps can be taken to console those cravings during PMS and your period, without feeling as though you are depriving yourself from those chemicals in the brain.
First, do not skip breakfast. Attempt to start your day with a breakfast high in fiber such as oatmeal and protein such as yogurt. This will allow you to feel fuller longer while giving you that much needed energy to start your day.
Do not deprive yourself of snacking throughout the day. Prepare yourself some air-popped popcorn or trail mix and put it in your bag to have in between classes. For lunch or dinner, make sure you’re consuming some essential fatty-acids like fish, nuts, or seeds. They improve the processing of dopamine and serotonin in the brain.Some other foods to be mindful of are blueberries and raspberries to offset the body of low estrogen levels and spinach, lentils, and chickpeas to boost iron levels.
If you’re looking to potentially erase your PMS symptoms to begin with, studies have found that women who consume the recommended daily value of calcium and vitamin D have a 30 percent less chance of experiencing them than women who do not. You can consume calcium without the high fat content in items such as Greek yogurt, salmon, tuna, and low-fat milk and cheeses.
If you’re really craving that piece of chocolate, go for it! Dark chocolate can elevate your mood, just be mindful of how much you consume.
By taking these simple steps, we can stop the gain of those unwanted pounds during PMS and our periods!
By Marisa Malanga