We've all been there. It's 10:30 PM on a Tuesday night, and we're standing in the 7-11 candy section in all our sweatpantsed glory. We're exhausted, our stomachs hurt, and we're nursing a pretty rough headache. But when that chocolate leaves its wrapper and hits our taste buds, the whole world melts away.
So, why do we crave chocolate on our periods? And more importantly, why does it WORK?!
Interestingly, craving chocolate on your period has a lot more to do with chemicals than calories -- brain chemicals, to be specific.
What hormones change during my period?
Let us introduce you to two pesky hormones: Estrogen and Progesterone.
These are the two hormones produced by the female body, and they're in charge of a heck of a lot, especially when it comes to our monthly cycles.
While our bodies are getting ready for that time of the month, the levels of estrogen and progesterone drop in our systems. As a result, we crave high-carb and sweet foods in the days leading up to (or during) our periods.
Okay, so why do I feel better after I eat junk food on my period?
This is another interesting one -- and we've got another chemical friend to introduce.
You've probably heard of Serotonin, known commonly as "the happy chemical." We call it this because it's the chemical responsible for those warm and fuzzy feelings -- and boosting levels of serotonin in our bodies is why certain medications like anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds exist.
Serotonin is a natural chemical, and it can be tough to track down when our bodies are under stress. Basically, the more out of whack your system is, the more trouble it has feeling good.
To counter-act this, our bodies crave anything that will release that good, good burst of serotonin. And in this case, eating sugary chocolate and starchy carbs (lookin' at you, pre-period tacos) allows your body to release more serotonin, counteracting that "blah" feeling that hits before and during your period.
Isn't too much chocolate bad for me, though?
Yes and no. We all know the saying about "too much of a good thing", right? Well, chocolate is no different -- the serotonin boost we get from a bar of Moodygirl Chocolate is worth the calories, but we're not saying you should eat our entire stock to feel better.
(In fact, that's probably a route to a worse belly-ache.)
We designed the original "Monthly Mood" Moodygirl Chocolate Bar to help combat period cravings and reduce the symptoms of PMS. We infused our vegan chocolate with Vitamin B6, a nutrient linked to increased dopamine and serotonin in the system, and Magnesium, an essential mineral that supports muscle relaxation (including the muscles that cause cramps).
The result? A guilt-free vegan chocolate bar, packed to the wrapper with the essential minerals (like iron, zinc, and magnesium) we lose during our periods. Seriously, try it -- there's no better way to treat period symptoms than with vitamin-packed chocolate!
So, should you eat chocolate on your period?
The answer to this is "you totally can, within reason." If you're working on a diet or watching what you eat for health reasons, be careful to work with your doctor or dietician to find the right amount of chocolate for your system.
When you're ready to pick up a bar or two (or seven), hop on over to the Moodygirl Chocolate Shop to pick out your favorites. The Monthly Mood Bar is the obvious choice if you suffer from rough monthly cycles, and the Chill Out Bar is a great addition to take the edge off after a long day.
(Or just do what we do, and order all four decadent bars. You deserve it!)
Let's satisfy those cravings!