I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that people tend to eat more when they’re menstruating. During your flow, our cravings can mean that we consume up to 500 extra calories per day! And that’s not usually a kilo of lettuce we’re chowing down on. It’s often in the form of carbohydrates, sugary, salty or fatty food.
Whilst cravings can be frustrating, scientists have discovered that they are most likely signalling certain needs for your body during this time. Let’s look at some of the most common cravings in-depth and explore how we can make more mindful choices when it comes to snacking.
If you’re craving carbs and sweets:
Fluctuations in your hormones can lead to a drop in blood sugar levels and your body may need a boost of insulin. This is probably what’s causing you to reach for that bar of chocolate or bag of candy. If it’s sweets you’re craving, opting for dark chocolate instead of standard chocolate milk bars means you’re getting the boost in sugar but with the added benefit of antioxidants and minerals and mixing it up with fruit and trail mix is even better!
Hormonal fluctuations also lead to a change in mood, and your body will want to combat this. Carbohydrates increase serotonin levels which is often referred to as the ‘happy hormone’. Instead of eating simple carbs like bread or pasta, choosing complex carbs like beans, brown rice or oats will still give you that serotonin boost but will actually make you feel better for longer.
If you’re craving salty food:
Our periods can stress us out and disrupt our days and our sleep. If you’re craving salt it could mean that you are dehydrated, tired or have excess cortisol which causes more salt excretion.
Salty processed foods like chips and snacks can lead to blood pressure issues and bloating, which you’ll be dealing with already! Just remember to drink plenty of water and practise relaxation techniques during your flow.
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