To all of you men: no offense, but you might want to go click somewhere else for now. I assume you’re squeamish about this subject, so do yourself a favor and get out now while you’re still digesting lunch. If you claim to not be squeamish (and somehow you’re interested about food cravings when you’re on your period), then fine. You can stay.
To all of you women: Who doesn’t love some junk food when we’re feeling down? Yes, we love food, very bad food, when we are PMSing. Have you ever wondered why? I surprisingly enough do not ask myself this question mainly because I am a slave to my cravings on a very normal basis, so its second nature for me. I just know when I am PMSing, 3 things happen:
1) I look at cute animals on the internet all day long
2) I feel like the world hurt my feelings with everything that happens
3) I eat Twizzlers
So why do we crave certain foods during PMS?
Scientists and medical professionals (I know people, you know) don’t completely understand the causes for PMS and the cravings that go along with it yet. The general consent is that hormones [progesterone, estrogen and testosterone] are involved as is the brain chemical, serotonin.
The fact is that cravings amplify during the two weeks prior to a woman’s period probably because fluctuating estrogen levels have an effect on brain chemistry and this in turn makes many women crave foods mostly high in calories, fats, sugars and salt. But overeating these foods will only make PMS symptoms worse because when you eat them, your blood sugar fluctuates and it is known that controlling blood sugar is a crucial step in controlling your symptoms of PMS.
So here is a list of things that help improve symptoms of PMS (none of which are twizzlers):
We all know that water is a core part of a healthy diet, and that most of us, don’t drink nearly enough of it. When you’re suffering from PMS, one of the best things you can do, is to increase your water intake.
This can help reduce bloating, clear up your skin and cleanse your body of any unwanted toxins. You don’t necessarily have to drink your water either. You can try to eat more foods with a high water content, like cucumbers and celery.
2. Milk and yogurt
I can’t stress enough the importance of calcium for women. It builds strong bones and fends off diseases that we are prone to, like osteoporosis. While you’re PMSing, calcium can help reduce headaches, mood swings, bloating and irritability.
Increasing your calcium intake, does not mean that you have to drink more fattening dairy products though. There are several non-dairy options on the market now, like soy, almond and rice milk. You can also help your sweet tooth craving by eating some calcium-rich low-fat yogurt or frozen yogurt.
3. Whole grains
Whole grain foods improve colon-function. The extra fiber in your diet can help alleviate some of the gastrointestinal problems some of us experience when we’re PMSing. Go to the grocery store and purchase some whole grain products that will ease your symptoms. I mean, this is an excuse to carb load, so just take my advice and go.
4. Potassium-rich foods
Potassium is scientifically proven to balance out the sodium in your diet, and therefore help flush out water-weight and decrease the bloating we all know and love.
You can increase the potassium in your diet by chomping on more fruits and vegetables like bananas and oranges. A fruit salad, or all-fruit smoothie or slushie can help reduce your sugar-cravings as well. Smoothie King always has good deals on Groupon and Livingsocial, so check it out.
5. Magnesium-rich foods
Magnesium can help with your breast-tenderness and the moodiness that plagues us during that time of the month. You can amp up the magnesium in your diet by eating more spinach, nuts, lentils and bulgur.
Finally, we all have cravings when we are suffering from PMS. It’s not something to feel guilty or bad about. It is alright to respond to those cravings in moderation. Indulge in a scoop of ice-cream, not a tub. Have a brownie, not an entire chocolate cake.