Try these five tricks to kick your period cravings out the window.
It’s quite common to have food cravings before your period. While most women have it only for a few days before, many have to deal with crazy period cravings even during their menstrual cycle. I am sure you know that feeling of extreme satisfaction of bliss that you get momentarily after eating something particular before your periods, but do you know why?
What causes period cravings?
In simple words, it’s all a game of hormones. Your endocrine system uses hormones to check on the body and ensure proper physical, mental and emotional well-being. These hormones keep fluctuating, especially in women when shark week is around the corner.
Around 7-10 days before you start your period, your progesterone and estrogen levels change, creating a craving for high-carb and sugary foods. But it doesn’t end at that. When you consume such food items, your serotonin gets a kick that makes you feel happy and reduces PMS feelings. So, even though what you consume isn’t good for you, the hormone production changes, making you feel better than before.
If you are looking for a way to stop your period cravings, try doing this five things. Here’s what I recommend to subside your symptoms naturally.
1. Enjoy complex carbs
Yes, that's right, you can eat carbs, but make sure they are complex carbohydrates. You can outsmart your hormones by including complex carbs in your diet. Start by replacing sugary foods with whole grains like barley and quinoa. This will allow your body to enjoy the perks of these slow-release carbs that will boost your serotonin production without feeling sluggish or bloated.
2. Water is your best friend
Water is essential for survival and more so during periods. Consume at least 2 liters of water per day to keep bloating at bay. Bloating can present itself as weight gain, but it normally evens out a couple of days after your period starts. So, proper water intake will flush your system of toxins and keep you hydrated and fuller.
3. Limit coffee and alcohol
Try to stay alcohol before and during your menstruation. Alcohol can lead to several health issues, but consuming it before your period reduces vitamin B, the nutrient that helps the body deal with PMS symptoms. Also, alcohol disrupts your metabolism and creates more period cravings.
Blocking out caffeine entirely can leave you irritable and restless and even affect your sleep cycle. It could make you feel depressed and down, encouraging you to consume even more sugary foods. Alcohol does the same to you. So, I recommend you take smaller servings of coffee once or twice a day but abstain from alcohol entirely until your period has begun.
4. Get moving
When nothing seems to work, take a walk in the park. You can also opt for light exercises like yoga, bicycling and jogging instead of heavy-intensity workouts. This way you will be able to stimulate your serotonin and combat anxiety and fatigue without putting too much stress on your body. A 20-minute workout almost every day during your PMS phase should help curb your PMS symptoms and period cravings. I prefer yoga and walking to keep my symptoms under control.
5. Shorten your fast and include specific supplements
It's important to listen to your body. You will most likely benefit from doing shorter fasts around 8-12 hours, and increasing the time a few days into your period. The goal is to reduce stress during this time. Additionally, consider adding supplements like omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, vitamin D and ashwagandha to your day, all of which are proven to support the gut, brain and hormones.
What to do if period cravings persist during periods too?
Follow this guide mentioned above to survive your periods without facing much physical, emotional or mental stress.
If you experience severe PMS symptoms due to PCOS or any other condition, a change in your lifestyle and nutrition could be highly beneficial.