Tips for Dealing with PMS Cravings
That pesky time of the month when you just wanna munch? Does it kind of repeat itself at regular intervals? Is it about a week or two ahead of your periods? If you are nodding your head profusely, read on. Yes, we are gonna be talking about those PMS-related cravings and how you can manage them.
Q1. How does PMS throw your appetite for a toss?
A. Those intense cravings and ravenous appetites for anything right from chocolatey treats to salty snacks. Yes, we know, we know. When PMS strikes, your hormones hop on a roller coaster. Estrogen dips and progesterone skyrockets in the first part of the luteal phase, causing an increase in food cravings. This is how hormone-fuelled hunger can cause havoc with your appetite.
Q2. Is it just you?
A. No way, it happens to most of us, and there is science behind it. Blame it on:
Low progesterone and high estrogen levels
Lower serotonin levels
This causes a drop in blood sugar levels (now you know why those sugar cravings hit hard)
Eating sugary treats raises your blood sugar levels… but is a quick fix. Expect a sharp blood sugar dip soon after, and a roller coaster of irritability, anxiety, and more sugar cravings.
Serotonin is the feel-good chemical in your brain. When its levels are low, you crave sugars and other carbs like potato chips.
That's because the body uses carbs to make serotonin.
Q3. How do I stop myself from all the gobbling and guzzling?
There is nothing that we girls can’t handle! The best part is that these cravings are pretty predictable. So we can be ready with our defence even before it strikes.
Eat as many as six mini-meals
Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.
Space them out about every three hours to give your body constant fuel.
This also helps regulate blood sugar levels and keeps cravings from becoming binges.
Choose complex carbs, not complex relationships
Fiber-rich foods are complex carbs that take longer for your body to break down and absorb, further curbing your cravings.
Eat more whole-grain breads and cereals, and produce like legumes, fruit, and starchy veggies, which are on the complex-carb list.
Go for a protein fix
Include protein in most of your meals or snack to help moderate blood sugar imbalances.
It also slows the digestive process to keep from feeling hungry.
Choose better-for-you protein options like paneer, lentils, nuts, oats, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, mung beans, green peas, quinoa, pistachios, almonds, brussels sprouts, eggs, chicken, turkey, fish, and even peanut butter.
Maintain your magnesium intake
Research indicates that women can experience low levels of magnesium during PMS. Load on peanut butter, almonds, cashews, brown rice, sunflower seeds, and beans.
Guess what! Chocolate is also rich in magnesium. So try nibbling on small pieces of high-quality, antioxidant-rich dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate, which typically has more calories and fat.
Also Read: PMS Tips for dealing with Period Mood Swings
Save yourself from the snack attacks by managing stress. Learn and practice some relaxation techniques like alternate-nostril breathing, pursed-lip breathing, or yoga breathing methods or simply spend some time doing what you love to do…sing, dance, paint, play!
Bring on the sunshine
Get outdoors and let the sunshine in to raise serotonin levels and reduce sugar and carb cravings.
Stay physically active throughout the day as exercise boosts endorphins, which in turn decreases the appetite.
Walk the dog, vacuum the floor, take the stairs - whatever it takes to keep moving.
Look at the brighter side
Cravings aren't the only thing that rise pre-menstruation. Your metabolism also increases a week before menstruation. So, if you cave into a craving, you'll be happy to know our bodies may burn an additional 100 calories a day during this time. It's a small way of counteracting extra eating!
Cravings remind you that you are nearing your period. Another thing that could help you keep track of your periods is the Kotex Period Tracker. So, you can prepare for those period-related symptoms by tracking them. Take charge of your periods by working on your defence system and you will soon be able to manage it better.