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Period Cravings and How to manage them



Let’s all face it, It’s no fun and games what goes down there! Thank God, there’s chocolate to calm it down. 

We've all been there, in one moment staring longingly into the fridge, opening the same at any random time just to pacify the urge for a specific food seemingly impossible to resist. In another moment, you would probably crave something completely different. These intense desires, often for sweet, salty, or starchy foods, are commonly known as period cravings, and they can be a real struggle during your menstrual cycle.

You would often find people considering this as a subconscious psychologically motivated feeling but if we delve deeper, there’s actual science behind this. Although complex, but it’s time we put the myths to rest. 


Science Behind the Cravings:

Our hormones play a major role in these cravings. Fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels throughout the menstrual cycle can affect neurotransmitters like serotonin, which regulates mood and appetite. Serotonin being a happiness quotient chemical, is often released upon consumption of sweet and starchy food. When serotonin dips, our bodies may hence crave high-carb and sugary foods, which can temporarily boost its production and alleviate feelings of fatigue and low mood, just enough to bring us out of the PMS-Y feeling of laying low.


Beyond Hormones:

While hormonal changes are a significant factor, some research suggests other potential explanations for cravings. Lately, some advance research although at a nascent stage and yet to be conclusively proven offers a logical connection with insulin sensitivity as well. Insulin moderates the level of glucose in the blood meant to provide energy. A high insulin sensitivity is generally good as it denotes faster energy transmission. As a women’s uterus prepares for the menstrual cycle, she goes through multiple phases starting with the Follicular phase, that is from the start of the period lasting till the week after, when insulin sensitivity is high in the brain due to which a persistent feeling of satiety exists. On the other hand, in the luteal phase, this sensitivity is reduced. This insulin resistance often intervenes with the appetite hormones and one can feel hungry and have multiple food cravings. Now you know, it is not you but the hormones playing with your brain. 


Is it normal? 

For most women, it may start as early as a week before your period and end as soon as period starts. However, the intensity of these cravings and the consequential effect on your health is something that can help you distinguish the severity of PMS. 


Managing the Cravings:

While indulging in occasional treats is not harmful, but it's of utmost importance to be mindful of your choices and find healthy ways to manage these cravings:

  • Balanced diet with whole foods: Increase intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains throughout your cycle. A balanced diet is the key for a healthy body and to avoid such temporary cravings over a period of time. These foods provide necessary nutrients and sustained energy just enough to keep you on the move. 

  • Constant hydration: Dehydration can mimic hunger pangs, so keep a bottle handy and measure your intake to make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

  • Healthy snacks: The more we munch the more we gain but of course substituting it with healthy snacking like nuts, seeds, yogurt with fruit, or whole-wheat crackers, can cut down on the calories while subsiding the craving. 

  • No sleep deprivation: A beauty sleep and a healthy routine is a must have for a happy and long life, is all because it keeps our hormones balanced and exacerbate cravings, hence it is advisable to have 7-8 hours of sleep and avoid erratic sleep patterns.

  • Keep yourself busy and on the move: Easier said than done, but regular exercise or even a walk might help ease the pain and regulate food intake, keeping cravings in check. 


On a closing note, Period cravings are normal and nothing to be ashamed of. By understanding the science behind them and making healthy choices, you can manage them effectively and navigate your menstrual cycle with more comfort and ease. Don’t stress yourself over an occasional ice cream tub in your hand or a slice of pizza, in the moment sometimes its best we pacify our urge and give what our body asks for, but yes, it’s all about keeping the quantity in check

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