Whenever it’s that time of the month, we constantly crave carbs and sweets like french fries, pizza, and chocolate, which makes it more difficult to stick to a healthy, balanced diet. But you shouldn’t feel guilty when you’re giving into your cravings. In fact, it’s completely normal and OK to eat more during your period. We explain why, below!
Your body needs more calories when menstruating
Your menstrual cycle increases your metabolic rate, which is the amount of energy you expend while at rest. The weeks leading up to your period, you actually burn more calories than any other time of the month. When your period does finally come, your body has used up a lot of its fuel, so it’s no wonder why you’re so hungry.
There’s a change in hormone levels
There are two main phases of a period: the follicular phase and the luteal phase. The levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone go up and down during the different phases of your period, which affects your hunger levels.
The body craves mood-boosting foods
The rise in estrogen during the follicular phase can leave you feeling moody, cranky, and sad. Therefore, your body craves foods that will give you a quick energy boost. For example, when you bite into a chocolate bar, you feel comforted and lifted all at once. The high feeling you get is the result of chocolate, carbs, and sugar-laden foods that offer a boost of serotonin and dopamine.
Your blood sugar changes
Yep, your period also affects your blood sugar level. Because of this, women are more responsive to insulin (the hormone that regulates the amount of glucose in the blood) when they’re on their periods. Cravings for chocolate and sugary foods are normal in response to your body’s need to raise its blood sugar levels. Just be sure to limit your intake of sugary foods, which provide a quick boost but will leave you feeling tired shortly after.
Your body is fatigued
Changes in diet during your period are a natural response to fatigue and a drop in iron levels. The simple fact that your body is tired and taking on the internal stress of a menstrual cycle on top of your everyday responsibilities, means it’s perfectly OK to eat more during your cycle. However, it’s important to also eat whole, nutritious meals with lots of greens to restore your iron levels.
xx, The FabFitFun Team
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