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15th Feb 2019

Period cravings through the roof? Here’s what your body might really be crying out for

Louise Carroll

Going mad for that sweet treat?

Or perhaps it’s the packet of crisps you’ve been able to steer clear of for weeks. But now… all will power…is…



Indeed, we adore our food – only natural really. But when it comes to having mad cravings during our period, a lot of us want to know what’s actually causing us to go wild, while others wonder if their cravings are related to their period at all.

Maybe they’re just – mad about chocolate, crisps, salted peanuts, pasta, pizza – you name it!

On the other hand we hear accounts of women (myself included) who often eat more around their period because a full stomach helps with the pain. It’s as if a fuller stomach is holding everything together in there and around the uterus.

But plenty also feel they have their food cravings intensify around menstruation. So, why?

Many researchers and doctors put it down to the fact that we feel a bit out of sorts. Right before we menstruate, our cortisol hormone (stress hormone) rises, while serotonin (our happy hormone) tends to dip, so this can cause us to feel like munching on those feel-good carbs, which are in-turn, responsible for helping to make serotonin.

Feeling sore, irritable and having the need for comfort can have us reaching for our favourite, mood-boosting foods – often high in sugar and/or fat. Judging from the Her desk here alone – this seems true for many.

But for the sake of exploring all options, let’s take this a little further…

Some might be craving more food because we need more B vitamins like thiamine (vitamin B1) and riboflavin (vitamin B2) just before we get our period.

A study in 2011 showed that upping our intake of these B vitamins can help with PMS symptoms too, so, consider getting in those beans, nuts, grains and nutritional yeast (for vitamin B1) and green veggies like broccoli, spinach, kale and asparagus for vitamin B2.

Vitamin D is super for making us happy, so 20 minutes of sun during the day, mushrooms or vitamin D supplements (which plenty of us need, being cooped up inside so much) is all it takes. On the other hand, vitamin C (from foods like sauerkraut, peppers, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and tomatoes) can be a real help getting rid of nasty symptoms and helping to absorb iron.

Then right before day one of our cycle, our oestrogen and progesterone levels fall which can cause us to feel more hungry too.

During menstruation itself it’s probably a good idea to get in some lovely calcium and magnesium (helps reduce stress and cortisol). These can really improve cramping and cravings when we have them right during our period.

To avoid becoming low in iron after our period (if you love chewing ice – that could be an iron deficiency) get those gorgeous greens into ya! Kale is excellent, spirulina (handy to pop in smoothies), and oodles more. It’s so important to build up those iron levels again.

So, whenever you crave foods during your cycle, know that’s it’s totally natural for your body to be crying out for different things.

We don’t know about you, but we have a feeling we might have difficulty keeping track of all those different vitamins and minerals we need. Just remember a well balanced diet is key – eat natural and broaden those options. We’re bound to be getting what we need.

Fingers crossed!