Getting your period causes lots of things – cramps, bloating, headaches… and major food cravings. Wanting to eat everything in your fridge can be kind of annoying. So why exactly is it happening, and how can you deal with it?
Appetite changes and cravings are especially common before and during your period due to the fluctuating hormones estrogen and progesterone. These hormonal shifts alter brain chemicals (AKA “neurotransmitters”) that affect our mood and thoughts.
One of these chemicals, known as serotonin (AKA the “happy” chemical), is particularly affected during the menstrual cycle. The hormones cause serotonin fluctuations, which alter your appetite and mood. When serotonin levels drop, we may feel depressed. As a result, we crave carbohydrates (which increase serotonin production) to boost our mood.
But instead of reaching for that processed pretzel or sugary candy, which will cause a sharp spike and drop in blood sugar, enjoy a few whole grain crackers with a creamy nut butter, avocado or hummus. The fiber, protein and healthy fat should tame your hunger and any cravings you have. Also remember to drink plenty of water and to limit sodium, alcohol, added sugars and refine cards to reduce cravings and bloating.