Why do I crave chocolate when I’m on my?

Answered by John Hunt

When it comes to our menstrual cycles, it’s not uncommon to experience various cravings, and chocolate often tops the list for many women. There are a couple of reasons why we find ourselves reaching for that sweet, indulgent treat during this time.

Firstly, our hormonal levels play a significant role. During the menstrual cycle, the levels of estrogen and progesterone fluctuate, leading to different physical and emotional changes. In the early phase of the cycle, right after menstruation, estrogen begins to rise. This increase in estrogen can stimulate our appetite and cravings, including a desire for chocolate.

Additionally, chocolate has been found to stimulate the release of endorphins in our bodies. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that act as natural painkillers and mood enhancers. One of the endorphins released when we consume chocolate is serotonin, often referred to as the “happiness hormone.” Serotonin helps regulate our mood and overall sense of well-being, which can be particularly beneficial during the sometimes challenging emotional rollercoaster of our menstrual cycle.

Moreover, chocolate contains compounds that can have a positive impact on our mood. For example, it contains phenylethylamine (PEA), a chemical that our brains naturally produce when we are in love or experiencing feelings of happiness. PEA is thought to promote feelings of pleasure and elevate mood. By consuming chocolate, we can increase the levels of PEA in our bodies, contributing to a sense of joy and contentment.

Furthermore, chocolate is rich in magnesium, which is often depleted in the days leading up to menstruation. Low levels of magnesium have been associated with increased irritability and mood swings. By indulging in chocolate, we may unknowingly be trying to replenish our magnesium levels and alleviate some of these premenstrual symptoms.

It is important to note that individual experiences can vary, and not all women will crave chocolate during their menstrual cycles. Cravings can vary based on personal preferences, cultural factors, and individual physiological responses. Therefore, it’s perfectly normal if you don’t experience chocolate cravings during your period.

The desire for chocolate during menstruation can be attributed to the hormonal fluctuations that occur during the menstrual cycle. The increase in estrogen levels and the release of endorphins like serotonin when consuming chocolate can contribute to the cravings. Additionally, the presence of mood-enhancing compounds such as PEA and magnesium in chocolate can further explain why we turn to this sweet treat during our periods.