Anyone with a sweet tooth - and anyone without, for that matter - is likely craving chocolate on their period. Is it science, nature, or just that we can’t get enough of cocoa? We take a look at why our body is craving not only chocolate, but carbs and wine, too...
Your body is deficient in something
Sometimes cravings are linked directly to what your body is missing. For example if you find yourself dipping constantly into the freezer for ice cubes, it can be a sign that your body is low in iron. Similarly, a desire to stuff family-sized chocolate bars into your mouth can indicate that your magnesium levels are low.
When your oestrogen drops – around weeks three and four of your cycle – your levels of happy hormone serotonin also drop, while cortisol, the stress hormone, starts to rise. You’ll probably find yourself reaching for food that makes your serotonin rise such as pizza, pasta and burgers. Carbohydrates are great for increasing serotonin. If you want a healthier option though, stick to wholewheat bread or brown pasta and rice.
You're stress eating
As soon as the body gets stressed, it starts producing cortisol. This hormone not only increases appetite, but also motivation, including the motivation to stuff your face! Many stress-related cravings are for fatty foods or super-sweet foods. For a short time these foods stop the part of the brain producing these stressful emotions, however, it’s often only a short-term solution. Stress cravings are better dealt with by doing some exercise or taking time out to relax properly.
Emotions are ruling your food choices
Apparently 75% of all snacking is emotional – something we learn from a young age, when we were rewarded with a sweet treat for being good. This continues into adulthood and whether we’ve had a bad day, are suffering period cramps or just want to reward ourselves for doing something good, it’s easy to fulfil those emotions with food. The secret to recognising these cravings is to try and see what else is going on in your life. If you're feeling lonely for example, instead of picking up phone and ordering in a large pizza, why not phone some friends instead and have a nice chat?
It’s your genes
For some of us, the fact that we can’t resist a delicious slab of fruit and nut is all due to DNA. An Italian study discovered 17 genes related to liking certain foods including bacon, coffee, dark chocolate, ice cream and white wine. Now you know you can totally blame your sugar addiction on your parents.