Have you noticed in the days and even a couple of weeks leading up to your period you begin to get cravings and bam that diet is out the window.
There is a reason why this is happening and as you probably would have guessed it is due to your hormones! Another reason to love being a women.
So what exactly is happening?
After ovulation which is generally around mid cycle, progesterone starts to be broken down (4)
Progesterone is produced by the ovaries after ovulation, it helps to thicken the lining of the uterus.
so if an egg has been fertilised the lining is thick enough to support the implantation.
Recent research suggest the hormone progesterone may have an impact on the neurotransmitters which affect serotonin
Serotonin is a hormone which impacts mood, its the bodies feel good hormone which is produced in the gut.
Why are you craving chocolate?
Studies have shown that Chocolate may increase Serotonin levels due to the L-tryptophan it contains (3), having said that moderation is the key, its ok to have chocolate but try to go for a dark chocolate
How can I prevent getting cravings:
- Acupuncture is a great way to help balance out your hormones and settle other PMS symptoms such as bloating, headaches, depression, anxiety and breast tenderness
In a systematic review conducted in 2014 the study showed significant benefit of acupuncture in improving the symptoms of PMS, the overall conclusion was that acupuncture was about 50% better at improving PMS than any other treatment. (2)
2. Avoid alcohol and coffee in the days leading up to your period,
3.Vitex is a well know herb which is very effective in supporting your menstural cycles, there are also many other Tradition Chinese medicine herbs which maybe beneficial depending on the symptoms you present with (6)
4.Vitamins may also be an option for example Vitamin B6 helps you to process protein carbs and fat that you eat, but also impacts your nervous and immune system. (5) Its always best to speak with your health practitioner before even starting any vitamins and herbal supplements as there are many factors that need to be considered.
5.Magnesium may also be beneficial not just to cut the cravings but also to help with any cramping you may experience during your mensural cycle and the weeks leading up to your period. having chocolate cravings in particular can be a sign of magnesium deficiency.
It is always beneficial to try and take it easy leading up to your period, for example meditation, making a conscious effort to just check out, in order to reducing stress levels, going for a walk or having a bath(4),
If you would like to find out more about acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine, please feel free to contact OPA for an appointment.
(1)Kim S‐Y, Park H‐J, Lee H, Lee H. Acupuncture for premenstrual syndrome: a systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomised controlled trials. BJOG 2011;118:899–915. https://obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1471-0528.2011.02994.x
(2) Jang S-Y ,Kim D, Choi M-S, Effects and treatment methods of acupuncture and herbal medicine for premenstrual syndrome/premenstrual dysphoric disorder: systematic review, Jan 10 2014,https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3898234/
(3)Levels Jessica Bruso; Dark Chocolate & Serotonin,November 27, 2018https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/dark-chocolate-serotonin-levels-5558.html
(4)IQWiG ,Premenstrual syndrome: Overview, June 15, 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279265/
(5) McCulloch M, 9 Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin B6 Deficiency,June 22, 2018 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-b6-deficiency-symptoms
(6) Petre A, Vitex Agnus-Castus: Which Benefits of Chasteberry Are Backed by Science?November 2, 2018, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitex#womens-reproduction