Health Care 14.Jul.2023

Why Do We Crave Unhealthy Food During Our Periods

If you’re an individual who goes through the monthly boon known as a period, then you’re probably familiar with the concept of cravings. Yes, those huge chocolate bars and bags of potato chips did not go unnoticed. Nor did the extra fries you ordered or the huge bowl of spaghetti you just polished off. And the chocolate cake you’ve been gorging? Yeah, that too.

If we come down directly to the cravings phase, you would have, through personal experience, thought that more often than not you end up craving what is popularly known as ‘sugary, fatty food’ otherwise known as unhealthy food.

Literally, every person who has a period goes through this every month. So, why does this happen? We decided to dig a little deeper into this wildly unpopular phenomenon.

As you may already know, your body goes through multiple mental, hormonal and physical changes during your period. And these changes tend to send you, your mood and hormones out of whack. And so is the case with your cravings. One month you could be craving salty potato chips and the next you could be looking at chocolates like they are your best friends. This happens because of the ‘out of whack phenomenon’ because of which your body starts craving certain nutrients making you to desperately indulge in food.

So who do we blame for this?

Endogenous opioid peptides or EOPs, the amino acid bonds that are always present in your body, could possibly be the reason. During certain times like when you’re on your period or going through pregnancy, the EOPs in your body are more active. The theory here is that the presence of these EOPs ignites your cravings.

The other theory? The hormone called cortisol spikes and the universal feel-good hormone serotonin dips. This fluctuation makes your body crave food that has strong sugar and fat content. It is because they boost levels of serotonin and combat cortisol productions making you feel happier and more relaxed.

So essentially, you shouldn’t be surprised when you’re itching for or craving more snackable food items like chips, bread and chocolate. The most common cravings during periods are for items like potato chips and chocolates. So, breathe a sigh of relief because you’re not the only one.

In fact, chocolate, specifically cocoa, is super high in magnesium. Why is this important? It is because your body runs low on magnesium during your pre-menstrual days. Just try switching to dark chocolate which has a stronger cocoa percentage as opposed to milk chocolate that has a higher percentage of sugar. Because let’s face it, sugar is not your friend during your period. This will curb all your cravings and is a much healthier alternative for you.

Your cravings essentially are pretty harmless; just try switching to a healthier alternative like dark chocolate, nuts and fruits. The only time you should be concerned is if you start craving strange things like chalk or dirt. Yes, this too can happen.

Why though?

Because there are certain cravings that women can have on their periods that are not quite normal and are more likely related to anemia. If you’re craving things out of the ordinary, check in with your doctor to see what’s up.