Period cravings usually start around 7-10 days before your period arrives, when other glorious PMS symptoms like bloating and headaches tend to kick off as well.
And, like the other symptoms, we can blame hormones for our hunger signals going a little haywire.
Levels of progesterone peak about a week before your period starts, and progesterone dominates over oestrogen, then the levels of both hormones bottom out dramatically in the last few days of your cycle, and so do the feel-good endorphins in your brain.
Hence, irritability, crankiness, mood swings, teariness, and killer cravings for anything sweet or rich in carbs that will encourage your body to release more serotonin to help you feel happy again.
So, now we know this, we can look at period cravings as a signal from our body that it needs something to help restore balance.
Our bodies always know exactly what we need for our best health and wellbeing.
However, we don’t want to go overboard with the treats full of refined sugar and simple carbs, just because our body needs a pick me up – otherwise, we’ll be creating a whole host of other problems for ourselves.
Here are some tips to help embrace the body’s call for sugar and carbs in a healthier way:
- fruit smoothies
- enjoy 1-2 squares of dark chocolate
- increase plant protein intake with nuts, seeds, legumes
- replace potato with sweet potato
- cook up brown rice rather than white rice
- instead of white pasta or bread, eat wholegrain pasta or bread
- indulge your cravings but keep portion sizes small
If those don’t help with cravings, there are other ways to try to boost serotonin levels:
– exercise (as intense/light as feels right for your body)
– watch a funny movie or YouTube clip compilations
– catch up with a friend
– have sex (with or without a partner)
– get grounded & go barefoot at the beach, in the creek, in your garden.
If you’ve tried these and your sugar cravings are as intense as always, or you notice they continue throughout your cycle, you may want to check in with your doctor, as sugar cravings can be a signal from the body that something is missing, such as a nutrient (eg. magnesium) deficiency.