Many women crave chocolate, among other things, when they are hormonal.
This is not relevant to only a few women.
The cravings start to surface when “that time of the month” comes around and it is true for every woman on this planet.
You could be suffering from all types of stomach cramps and breakouts.
But in the midst of all that, you would want to grab a sugary treat to distract you from all these worldly pains.
In order to suffice the cravings, a lot of women stock up on supplies just before their menstrual periods.
A stash of some nice chocolates would definitely find a place in them.
A lot of people are of the belief that all of these subtle changes in habits during the period can be boiled down to hormonal imbalances.
But it doesn’t always need to be exactly so.
When the period starts, estrogen and progesterone levels drop.
This causes you to become very hungry.
Along with that, the serotonin levels drop too. But your cortisol levels are rising.
This means the hormones in your body that make you feel good are going down, while those that make you feel stresses are on the rise.
This is why you need sugary foods to make your serotonin levels go high.
Let us look at some interesting things about why do women crave chocolate during their periods.
Not everyone craves chocolates during their periods
Only a percentage of women feel this craving, somewhere around half of all the women.
But this figure might vary across different continents.
The others might experience chocolate cravings but that is not related to their menstrual cycle.
One of the main reason for this is hormone fluctuation. The two main hormones that are released by the female gonads are estrogen and progesterone.
These hormones impact almost every organ of the body – eyes, hair, bones, the immune system, blood, brain, the other hormone systems, and reproduction.
There is as much as 3 to 6 times change in the levels of estrogen and about a 4-fold change in the level of progesterone in a regular menstrual cycle.
Can you imagine your body weight changing that much?
However, as we know that not all women face chocolate cravings, it is definite that hormonal changes cannot be the entire reason behind their desires.
It has also been noticed that taking progesterone supplements to reduce fluctuations do not decrease the cravings.
Also, perimenstrual cramps vary across different geographical locations.
The cravings do not follow the hormonal fluctuations
Women who crave chocolate during their periods do so when the progesterone and estrogen levels are at their lowest.
The cravings are not associated with the change in the levels of the hormones.
Also, women stop craving chocolates just when their menstrual cycles are beginning.
There is no hormonal change at this point in time. This might mean that the chocolate cravings could be a response to the oncoming bleeding and is a culturally adapted way of dealing with the stressor.
Not only that, a lot of women who have already had menopause had reported having chocolate cravings.
They do no longer experience menstrual cycles.
The variation in the hormonal levels over a month is quite insignificant.
This means that there is much more to chocolate cravings than hormonal fluctuations.
The cravings can be a learned behavior
If it is not entirely due to hormonal fluctuations, then why do women crave chocolate during their period?
It seems to be like a learned behavior.
The beautiful taste and aroma of chocolate starting from the very first bite fulfills the desire of women on their periods.
This is mostly due to the high fat and calorie combination of chocolates.
Also, people have learned that chocolates are more of a reward and exist as an indulgence when you can take a high-fat meal.
Since eating chocolates offers pleasure, it leads to the release of dopamine, which acts as a reward chemical in the brain.
However, there is no physiological cause of chocolate cravings. Some women do experience mood alteration, headaches and abdominal bloating.
But this is attributed to only a small percentage of women.
Women have learned that the undesirable aspects of periods have been experienced by others and are appreciated.
So, it is okay to give in to a little craving.
In our society, people are becoming increasingly conscious of their health.
People are cautioned against taking high calories and fats.
But women know “that time of the month” is a special occasion where eating such foods would not be met with shame and guilt and they would be understood.
This is surely a pretty good reason to indulge in some delicious food, and what better than chocolates to bring instant delight?
The summarization of the entire story
The thing is that chocolate cravings around the periods are no different than those that happen throughout the month.
These cravings are not because of different reasons and can be fought off by the person.
No woman needs to restrict themselves to getting sugary treats only at a certain time of the month.
If you feel like enjoying chocolate, you can do it, considering that you exercise proper restrictions and limits.
Also, you should consider walking up a flight of stairs or running after the sugary treat.
Bloating, fatigue and moodiness arising at the time of menses can be controlled through exercise.
This can even reduce stress factors and mental fog.
Exercise even increases the levels of endorphins – the natural painkillers of the body, epinephrine – the ‘fight or flight’ hormone, dopamine and improves the metabolism.
Now you have a complete answer to ‘why do women crave chocolate on their period‘.
If you are ever feeling like eating chocolate around your periods or after a stressful day at work or just a reward – you can do so, considering that you are exercising some caution in eating a high-fat and high-calorie food.
You do not need to wait for your periods to eat that delicious chocolate bar.