Craving chocolate the week before (and the week of) your period is such classic PMS behavior; it’s almost trite, but the reality is that most of us can absolutely relate to craving a bit of extra chocolate deliciousness.
We’ve even heard that eating chocolate (and having sex) might help relieve cramps, which justifies our continued indulgence in both (as if we needed an excuse).
Do we crave chocolate because we’ve been told it’s a “thing,” or does it actually contain elements that benefit our bodies before we start eating it? Bliss natural looked into the reality behind chocolate cravings and whether consuming a handful (or two or three) of them may make us feel better and reduce period cramps.
WHY DO WE GET CRAMPS?
Before we can figure out if chocolate can help us get rid of cramps, we must first figure out why we get them in the first place. Cramps differ from person to person, but practically everyone who has a period will experience them at some point.
Our bodies create hormones that assist the muscular walls of the uterus contract each month when we have a period. These agreements assist the uterus in shedding its lining and preparing for the next monthly cycle. Your monthly menstruation is caused by the uterine lining being shed.
The hormones prostaglandins are responsible for the uterine contractions that induce your period. Unfortunately, such contractions can be excruciatingly painful at times, resulting in cramping so severe that you miss work or school.
WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING?
Your hormone levels begin to change immediately before your period, in addition to the prostaglandins compressing your uterus. Just before you start, your estrogen and progesterone levels are at their maximum. The increase in these hormones has the potential to alter another hormone in your body, insulin.
Insulin controls your blood sugar levels, so when it drops or rises, it might alter how you feel. Lower insulin levels can cause blood sugar levels to rise, whilst greater insulin levels can cause blood sugar levels to plummet.
Blood sugar fluctuations can cause specific food cravings (typically sugar and carbohydrates), so if you find yourself reaching for pasta or candy, it’s most likely because your hormones are changing.
WHY DO WE CRAVE CHOCOLATE?
Why chocolate rather than gummy bears? Chocolate provides elements that your body and brain may require when you’re suffering from PMS.
Pasta, chocolate, chips, and bread—there’s a scientific reason why you become a carboholic right before your period. According to studies, wanting carbs is triggered by a change in hormone levels that impact blood sugar levels.
This isn’t to say that a large bowl of sugary cereal is the solution. In fact, eating junk carbs will make you feel worse in the long run. Sugar can raise your blood sugar and give you a burst of energy and a boost in mood, but as your body processes it, your blood sugar level (and mood) might plummet, leaving you feeling irritable.
Milk chocolate contains calcium, which is one of the most researched supplements for premenstrual syndrome. Calcium has been shown in studies to help with PMS symptoms including cramps, exhaustion, and water retention, but getting your calcium from milk chocolate isn’t the best option.
To obtain enough calcium to help your body, you’d have to consume a lot of milk chocolate, and you’d also be consuming a lot of sugar and caffeine, two components that can actually make cramps worse.
There’s a scientific explanation why comfort food makes you feel good! Dopamine is released in the brain when we eat foods that are comfortable to us, such as chocolate. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that makes us feel calm, cheerful, and well-adjusted.
The fat content of chocolate is probably what makes it so comfortable, and dark chocolate has the biggest fat content without as much sugar as milk chocolate.
For many of us, chocolate is a go-to yearning food, but how does it influence our cramps? Is it truly capable of assisting us in obtaining relief?
WHAT ABOUT CRAMPS AND CHOCOLATE?
If you’re suffering from cramps, reach for the chocolate. Chocolate contains at least three chemicals that can help relieve cramps and make you feel better, not to mention a small amount of dopamine, which can enhance your mood. It’s a win/win.
Magnesium is a mineral that aids in the contraction and relaxation of our muscles. It aids the muscles in sending instructions to the brain indicating whether the muscle should be relaxed or activated. Chronic muscular cramping is linked to low magnesium levels.
Chocolate (particularly dark ones) has a lot of magnesium, which might assist your contracting uterus relax and provide you some relief.
Have you ever wondered why you get a banana at the end of a 5-kilometer run? Also, why do sportsmen consume pickle juice? Potassium is found in both bananas and pickle juice.
Potassium helps to control salt levels, which can assist to relieve muscle cramping, water retention, and bloating. Dark chocolate includes potassium, which aids in the relief of cramps and the reduction of water retention.
3. FLAVANOL OF COCOA
Flavanols are plant-derived chemicals that can be found in a variety of meals. Cocoa flavanol, which can be found in high-quality dark chocolates, has been demonstrated to improve brain performance and reduce cellular oxidative irritation.
When free radicals attack your cells, cellular oxidation occurs. Free radicals can harm your cells in a variety of ways, causing discomfort, exhaustion, and even early indications of aging.
Cocoa flavanol is an antioxidant that works to protect your cells from free radical damage. It not only protects your cells, but it also helps to increase serotonin levels in your brain, which can enhance your mood and reduce pain and suffering.
ISN’T ALL CHOCOLATE SAME?
Regrettably, not all chocolate is made equal. If you like milk chocolate, you might have to join the dark side to avoid cramps before your period. Milk chocolate does not have a high enough cocoa content to provide the cramp-relieving benefits you require. It also contains more sugar than dark chocolate, making you feel even worse.
If you’re wanting chocolate before your cycle, look for dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content. The more healthy nutrients and cramp relief you get from darker chocolate with a higher cocoa content, the better.
Before your period, you should also put some personal limitations on how much chocolate you consume. While it can provide a much-needed boost and alleviate cramps, it is not a substitute for eating healthily and practicing proper self-care.
Message From Bliss Pads
Cramps might make you feel less than brilliant, even if your monthly cycle is fantastic. It’s all right. Whatever your period throws at you, Bliss products will help you deal with it.
We’re redefining the narrative around periods at BlissNatural. Our products are all natural and holistic, and they’re made to let you feel more in control of your period. Every woman is entitled to excellent period care and relief from cramps when they occur.
Do you have leg cramps? It isn’t even an issue. Have a wonderful, cramp-free day by grabbing some dark chocolate and healthy food.
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