Why do I crave chocolate on my period? Anybody else have this experience? You’re not alone. We’ll take you through the details. Read on.
For most of us, chocolate is a treat worthy of our desire at any time.
But when it comes to our periods, those cravings for that beautiful bitter-sweetness go into overdrive.
So now for the big question: why do I crave chocolate on my period?
First, know that you’re not alone. Here’s the scoop.
In this article: 📝
- Why do you crave chocolate on your period?
- Are period cravings a real thing?
- Are period cravings for chocolate caused by our hormones?
- Are chocolate cravings a sign of nutrient deficiency?
- So, does chocolate help with periods?
- Is it bad to eat more chocolate when on my period?
Why do you crave chocolate on your period?
Hands up if you recognize this scenario:
It’s that time of the month, or maybe it’s just about to start. You’re feeling bloated, irritable, and possibly a little down. Suddenly, it’s all you can think about. That smooth, creamy texture. That rich hit of sweet cocoa-y goodness.
Nutty? Fruity? Fancy? Plain? Who cares? You just know you need it.
So is there a physical basis for this craving of all cravings? Or is it just in our minds? And is it good or bad to give into it? Let’s unwrap.
Are period cravings a real thing?
Yes, period cravings, including chocolate, certainly are real.
But whether or not they have any physiological basis seems up for debate.
Are period cravings for chocolate caused by our hormones?
Some studies suggest cravings are linked to the changes in hormones our bodies go through in the lead-up to our periods.
Our menstrual cycle has four phases:
- The menstrual phase (day 1-5)
- The follicular phase (day 1-13, yup, they overlap)
- The ovulation phase (day 14)
- The luteal phase (day 14-28)
PMS (and cravings) are linked to the luteal phase, which usually lasts for the second half of your cycle.
This phase is marked by sharp rises in your estrogen and progesterone levels — to prepare your uterus lining for implantation — and then a drop in these levels if implantation doesn’t occur.
The drop in these two hormones is thought to be behind most of our PMS symptoms, from headaches and bloating to irritability and mood swings.
And some research shows that hormone changes during the luteal phase may drive cravings for certain high-sugar foods, like chocolate.
The link isn’t clear, though, and other studies have found that chocolate cravings don’t go away after menopause, which would be likely to happen if our menstrual cycle hormone changes caused them.
What isn’t certain is whether the changes in these hormones also cause cravings for chocolate.
Or whether we just crave chocolate because we are headachy, irritable, and moody due to PMS, and we know that that creamy chocolate-y goodness will give us a much-needed quick hit of comfort.
A different scientific review, for example, found that cravings for chocolate during our periods are a phenomenon specific to western cultures, where indulging in high-fat, high-sugar foods is a more common way to relieve feelings of stress or low mood.
This suggests that while our cravings feel all too real, we may well be psychologically influenced to have them by the chocolate-loving culture around us rather than by the fluctuations in our menstrual cycle hormones.
Are chocolate cravings a sign of nutrient deficiency?
Wouldn’t it be great if our bodies told us we NEEDED to have chocolate roughly once a month and that this was vital for our HEALTH?
Cacao is one of the foods richest in magnesium, a crucial element in our diets.
So it would make sense that a sudden urge to eat ALL the chocolate is our body’s way of telling us we need more magnesium, right?
Unfortunately, the evidence for this urban myth is pretty shaky.
Cravings, in general, seem to differ by gender, psychological state, and even geography, and we know that they don’t really correlate with nutrient deficiencies.
Plus, leafy greens are also high in magnesium.
And those cravings for kale and spinach are definitely not as relentless, right?
So, while there may be a bunch of theories explaining the link between chocolate cravings and our periods, the jury is still out on whether there really is a physical cause underlying them.
They result from the culture we live in and our psychological desires for rich comfort foods when we’re feeling physically stressed and emotionally low.
So, does chocolate help with periods?
Hell, yes! Well, wait. Let’s be more scientific.
Dark chocolate can help to relieve period pain.
That’s because it really is rich in that amazing magnesium we just mentioned and one of the things magnesium can do is relieve tense (cramping) muscles.
Sadly, milk and white chocolate are higher in sugar and lower in cacao and magnesium, so they don’t have the same physiological effect — other than to make you feel better, of course.
Is it bad to eat more chocolate when on my period?
Period pains and PMS are no joke, and if giving in to your chocolate cravings helps, then you hit that goodness!
But, if you can keep it to small treats rather than the entire candy aisle at your local store, that might be better for you long term.
Plus, did you see what we said about dark chocolate rather than milk or white?
It may not be as sweet, but it might be just the thing to alleviate those PMS cramps.
More period-related questions? We could have the answer.
🍫 More from The 411:
Prostaglandins and Period Pain: What You Need to Know
Can You Get Pregnant Right Before Your Period?
Can You Get Pregnant Right After Your Period?
Can You Have Two Periods in One Month?
How Late Can a Period Be?
What to Know About Black Period Blood
Having Sex on Your Period: What to Know
Watery Period Blood: A Sign of Pregnancy?
Do You Burn More Calories on Your Period? The Facts
What Does Brown Discharge Before My Period Mean?
8 Signs Your Period is Coming Tomorrow
Why Am I So Hungry On My Period?