Why do we always crave chocolate on our period?!
One reason why we might find ourselves staring into the fridge looking for something to satisfy our cravings the week before our period is our serotonin levels. Serotonin is a hormones involved in regulation of mood, sleep and eating behaviour. There is evidence that our period hormone levels affect serotonin uptake, particularly during our luteal phase (the 2 weeks before our period) of our menstrual cycle … otherwise known as the time we get PMS. These lower than average serotonin levels can cause us to reach for junk food, chocolate and sweets – the kind of food that can make our period pain and PMS symptoms worse in the long run! Eek!
But why chocolate?
Cocoa has zinc and magnesium in it, and this can be one reason we reach for chocolate around our periods – because our bodies might be particularly lacking zinc and magnesium at this time! Magnesium has been shown to help improve period period pain complaints.
So how do we get more magnesium in our diets to help with cravings and to help with PMS, period pain, hormone balance?
- Green veggies
- Cashews, almonds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Black beans
- Magnesium supplement
But sometimes you just want chocolate!
A healthy cacao banana smoothie will fulfil the sweet craving and also give your body the nutrients it’s looking for!
But be conscious that although it helps beat the chocolate cravings, it may not be something to choose to eat on a daily basis.
RECIPE: Chocolate banana ice-cream smoothie
This smoothie includes raw cacao powder, which is an unrefined version of cocoa powder, so the nutrients (especially magnesium and zinc) are higher! The banana and addition of pumpkin seeds and flax seeds also make it a great food for helping conquer unwanted period symptoms.
- 1/4 cup Pure Harvest Unsweetened Almond Milk
- 2 ripe frozen bananas (chopped into pieces before you freeze them)
- If you wanted to add less banana, or add more volume, try substituting with some frozen cauliflower
- 1 tbsp cacao powder
- Vanilla protein powder – I like Amazonia Raw Fermented Paleo Protein in this, or Tropeaka lean vanilla
- 1 tsp ground flax seed – great for period pain
– Frozen or fresh baby spinach leaves OR spirulina powder
– Chia seeds
- Add your chopped, frozen bananas into a Nutribullet cup or high speed blender with your cacao powder, protein powder, Pure Harvest almond milk, flax seed and any additional ingredients
- Blend until it’s the consistency of soft serve icecream. You MAY need to add a bit of additional almond milk to help it blend depending on what blender you are using, but be careful not to add too much or it will be too runny. Stop and give it a stir if it’s not blending well.
Top it with:
For extra magnesium and zinc:
- Cacao nibs
- Pumpkin seeds
For extra yumminess:
- Coconut flakes
- Dates balls (Recipe coming)
- Buckwheat or buckinis