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Understanding Period Cravings

Every woman is different, but most of us anticipate a change in behaviour or mood when we have our period.

Some women suffer terrible period pains, while others become a little more sensitive or irritable – and then there are those of us who get those unforgiving food cravings. Together with their expert midwife and health educator, Sister Burgie Ireland, Kotex® is here to dispel rumours that these cravings are just an excuse to binge on junk food. Ireland says, “Food cravings, specifically comfort food cravings, before or at the start of your period are a very real thing.”

1.What kind of cravings do women get?

Ireland: Women usually crave either sweet treats like chocolate or fatty savoury foods like chips. They are generally less likely to be related to diet and more likely to be associated with hormones like cortisol (the stress hormone) and serotonin (the happiness hormone).

2. When can a woman expect these cravings to occur?

Ireland: They take place at the start of a period, when cortisol levels spike causing serotonin levels to dip. The dip in serotonin causes a craving for sugary and fatty food and eating these foods gives the body a sense of comfort, which ultimately boosts the serotonin levels back up to a normal level.

RELATED: Three Remedies For Period Pains

3. How can we curb period cravings?

Ireland: It’s okay to indulge moderately in cravings during your period. For example, there are benefits to eating dark chocolate, as it contains minerals like iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium and sugar for energy. But there are ways you can combat your cravings:

  • Start a daily exercise programme – ideally in the sunshine for vitamin D.
  • Get enough sleep to boost your serotonin levels.
  • Take a probiotic if you have digestive problems to rekindle good bowel bacteria.
  • Eliminate processed foods, caffeine and refined carbs the week before your period starts.
  • Start your day with a protein-packed breakfast.
  • Snack on fresh fruits and raw vegetables during the day.

RELATED: Eight Menstrual Hygiene Questions Answered 

So, don’t feel guilty the next time your period comes and you crave something sweet or fatty! Indulge a little in a healthy that your body will thank you for.

Source: Kotex® Image: iStock

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