The Battle of the Cravings: Navigating Food Temptations During Your Period

Period cravings are mysterious urges that can send us hunting for specific foods during that time of the month. These intense desires for specific foods often leave us wondering about the underlying reasons behind them. Surprisingly, many food cravings can be attributed to our body’s attempt to compensate for various nutritional deficiencies. Understanding these connections can help us make informed choices and address our bodies’ needs more effectively.
1. Chocolate Cravings during your period are quite common and could be attributed to magnesium deficiency. Magnesium plays a vital role in regulating mood and reducing muscle cramps. Dark chocolate, in particular, contains magnesium, which may explain why it’s a popular choice. However, incorporating magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens (spinach), nuts, seeds, and legumes can help reduce chocolate cravings.
2. Junk food Cravings: Many women experience intense cravings for junk food, especially during PMS. This may be due to a serotonin imbalance. Greasy or junk foods temporarily increase serotonin levels, promoting feelings of happiness and well-being. However, instead of reaching for processed food, choose complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits (apples, kiwis, and pomegranates), and vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage).
3. Salty Cravings: If you find yourself reaching for salty snacks before or during your period, it could indicate mineral depletion, particularly sodium, and potassium. These minerals are essential for maintaining electrolyte balance and proper nerve function. Instead of indulging in high-sodium processed snacks, opt for healthier alternatives like roasted nuts or seeds, which provide both sodium and potassium. Additionally, incorporating mineral-rich foods such as bananas, and avocados can help replenish these vital electrolytes.
4. Sweet Cravings: Cravings for sugary treats may stem from fluctuations in blood sugar levels during the menstrual cycle. When blood sugar drops, the body craves quick sources of energy, often in the form of sweets. However, consuming excessive sugar can lead to further blood sugar imbalances and energy crashes. To address this, opt for natural sources of sweetness, such as fruits or dates, which provide fiber and essential nutrients.
Period cravings can offer valuable insights into our bodies nutritional needs. By understanding the potential deficiencies associated with different cravings, we can make conscious choices to address those needs. Incorporating nutrient-rich foods and maintaining a balanced diet can alleviate cravings and support overall well-being during our menstrual cycles.

Dr Anish Desai is MD, Clinical Pharmacologist and Nutraceutical Physician, Founder and CEO, IntelliMed Healthcare

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