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Here’s Why Cravings during Periods are Real

The tick-tock clock is spinning faster every minute to that time of the month. You have been expecting your periods for a couple of days now, ordered your sanitary pads online, and have managed to cajole your mind in a rather conniving manner to give in to your sugar cravings. Yes ladies we all know you can’t wait to bite into that sinful chocolate pastry. Ever wondered what the secret behind your sugar cravings during periods are?
Surprisingly, you are wrong if you think that you only crave during your periods. Food cravings also creep in when you are stressed, anxious, sad, or perceive extreme mental or physical exertion. Even pregnant women experience especially strong cravings, and this is all due to hormonal changes that have the ability to tamper with your taste and smell receptors.
However, as far as your sugar cravings during periods are concerned the following are some reasons as to why you might be biting for your favourite bag of crisps, or tending to your sweet tooth.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
A condition wherein women experience changes in their behaviour and their physical health – anywhere between five to 11 days before menstruation. According to a research conducted by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, 90% women are affected by PMS and undergo symptoms such as headaches, bloating, mood swings, and increased sugar cravings during as well as before their periods.
It is caused by fluctuating hormones: a decrease in serotonin levels, and higher estrogen levels during a woman’s menstruation cycle and the week that leads up to it. During the premenstrual phase, women also experience mild alterations in the body’s response to insulin and subsequent changes in the blood sugar levels which may lead to an increase in sugar cravings during periods.

Feeling Unusually Low, Irritable and Stressed
Periods affect your emotions just as they have an impact on your physical health. While you can tame the latter by pampering your vagina with organic sanitary pads, it is harder to soothe the mood fluctuations. Periods tend to have their way with the mind- forcing cortisol (stress hormone) levels to spike and serotonin (the”‘mood balance hormone”) to dip- leaving women feeling a host of unpleasant emotions. This is usually when we turn to their idea of ‘happy foods’ to uplift our dampening spirits. However, replacing these sugar-filled treats with period foods like naturally sweetened dates or fruits should always be the preferred alternative for a healthy period.

Socio-Cultural Factors
There is nothing too bad about a little bit of drama. I think most women would agree that digging into a pint of ice cream and crying in front of the TV while watching a picture perfect rom-com, is the best way to spend a period night. What we watch has an impact on what we crave. Let’s take chocolate for example. We are often told that women crave chocolate during their periods. This is what we see our favourite female actresses in movies and protagonists in books eat and subconsciously convince ourselves that this is also what will make us feel better. Our silly mind replicates on-screen behaviour making every social norm a personal habit.

Body Runs more Energy during Periods
While the exact reason for food cravings has not been determined yet, they are studied to have possibly been caused by the body’s requirement for energy. During periods our hormones run in several directions and we expend energy as our body prepares us for menstruation. Sugary, fat-laden foods are a rich source of calories and when our body generates an urgency for energy, we begin craving those foods. It is therefore important to not wait until you get severely hungry, but eat timely meals to avoid overeating. There are plenty of healthy period foods that one can indulge in. Some examples of these can be whole grains, lentils, beans, etc. Apart from eating healthy period foods, meditation and yoga can also help in controlling cravings by preserving energy.

It is a Phase
Dietitian Tracy Lockwood Beckerman reveals that roughly half way through our menstrual cycle (28-day cycle) we enter into the luteal phase. During this time the body starts preparing for a potential pregnancy. In order to support fertilization, the body requires more energy during this time and signals to eat more heartily than usual. Scientists believe that women tend to eat more when estrogen levels are low and progesterone levels are high — as occurs during the luteal phase. Heyday is a one stop shop for all your period needs. From taking orders for organic sanitary pads online, to providing wholly natural panty liners at your nearest convenience store, the team at Heyday is striving to make your next period the best one yet.