Food Cravings & Your Menstrual Cycle.
This is something that is very common amongst us Ladies…so common indeed that research shows at least 70% of women suffer from Food Cravings, Mood Swings and Irritability during their period.
Food Cravings are often a result of hormonal imbalances/hormones out of control…very often tied to inadequate Nutrition. Fluctuating hormones also have an effect on Brain Chemistry (Seretonin is a Brain Chemical…this will make more sense as you read on) So really to avoid any Food Cravings, its time we looked at out Diet and sorted our Hormones out…and YES it really is that SIMPLE!!!
I have been contacted by tons of women regarding this, especially as it plays havoc with some peoples lifestyles and tends to see them falling off the wagon and scoffing the BAD foods during this time of the month, but as I am sure you will agree we can’t keep using “time of the month” as an excuse…..as much as we would love too.
Before we start let me just say that having Cravings does NOT mean you have a lack of willpower….so STOP blaming YOUrself and just chill….and dont blame yourself, because by doing this you will only make your mood worse and your cravings will re-appear – and in walks “Emotional Eating” (article on this coming soon)
Do you find that as it gets to that time you crave sugery, fatty, crappy foods?
Do you find you just wann say f**k it to the diet and scoff your face?
Is exercising the LAST thing on your mind?
Dont be afraid to say YES to any of the above…because you wont be alone. I myself have been there, and its more common than we all think, we are not strange and not monsters (although I am sure your partners/kids may think you are – so get them to read this too)
OK…so yes every woman is different, but typically the menstrual cycle last 28 days in total…..with hormones floating around all over the place during this time….heres the geeky sciency bit – more over Einstein:
As Estrogen Levels fluctuate, so does Cortisol (the stress hormone) Levels, but the body wants to keep both of these levels even..therefore it causes us to “crave” Carbs/Bad Fats……and in walks the chocolate and crisps. Serotonin (Yeah I am sure you have all heard of this gem) is a brain chemical that gives feelings of contentment (Food and Exercise can trigger Seretonin by the way….but I know food is the more likely source for many) When Cortisol is elevated and Seretonin is Low we crave sugary foods, and this is simply because the body knows that simple carbs (bad carbs) will raise the Seretonin levels fast and this will more than likely be something you have all experienced – let me break it down – You dont control the signal that causes the carb/sugar craving, its the “simple” carbs that quickly release the Seretonin and then you feel “good” for a little bit and then you CRASH (mid afternoon lull…when u reach for that mars bar?? ring a bell??)…and so it begins again…the Vicious Cycle.
When Seretonin is low…the brain needs a “pick me up” but as it is related to hormonal imbalances, sometimes the signals to the Brain get mixed up….which causes the Simple Carbs to step into action.
How many of you are guilty of this?
How many of you know this is what happens but still reach for the sugary snack??
How many of you actually want some chocolate now? (haha Joke of course)
(and thats about as much sensible, sciency stuff youll get off me ha)
Magnesium Deficiency has also been known to cause these imbalances and cravings in Women (not just at times of month either)…so if you are not eating the right foods to get Magnesium into your diet, it may be worth supplementing with Magnesium!
It may also be worth keeping a “Food and Mood” Diary, by recording the type of foods you eat and if there is any emotional connection to them…you may be surprised and will more than likely see a pattern. Also keeping a Food Diary and noting what you eat during your period and how you felt…again you may see a pattern.
Reduce Salt intake
Avoid Caffiene and Alcohol
Stick to Complex Carbs (fruits, veggies) and avoid all those stodgy Simple Carbs (Bread, Pasta, biccies, cakes….you know your favs)
And if you do resort to the odd choccie bar when you are at this time of the month…dont beat yourself up about it, just move on…its not the end of the world, but try and find yourself some “Healthy” alternatives!!
Want to stop the cravings?
Sort your Nutrition out – which will sort your hormones out – which will help curb those cravings < SIMPLE?? Cos it really is that easy, but are you in the right mindset to do this?
I really hope this has helped and shed some light on WHY we seem to crave the bad stuff when we have our period….
If you need any further info get in touch