When Aunt Flo visits every month, your first instinct might be to reach for the chocolate. It’s the best excuse for keeping a stash of chocolate in the freezer, even if you dip into it occasionally at other times in the month. Is chocolate good for your period, though?
Our opinion on the subject is yes, and someee studies have our backs on this one, while others… well not so much. Let’s look at the controversy surrounding chocolate’s complex relationship with your Aunt Flo.
First and Foremost…
Okay, so let’s get the bad news out of the way first. Several studies demonstrate that foods rich in sugar, such as chocolate, have been known to stimulate increased inflammation in patients that triggers further abdominal discomfort.
Fortunately, that doesn’t mean you have to give up on all of your favorite chocolate-covered delights. Just swap out your typical milk chocolate products for their darker counterparts instead. Dark chocolate is rich in nutritional value and increases blood flow, too. For you, this means you may get to enjoy a mouth full of chocolate while keeping unwanted cramping under control also.
Chocolate as a Stress Reliever
Periods are stressful — you’re uncomfortable, your hormones are all out of whack and to top things off, you have to worry about bleeding through your favorite light-colored pants. It’s enough to stress anyone out, and when you’re stressed out, your body releases cortisol, which makes you feel even worse.
Nibbling on some dark chocolate can help reduce your stress levels — both during your period and during the rest of the month. Two studies found eating dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa can lower stress levels by up to 70 percent. It might not be the best thing for your waistline, but it can help you feel more like yourself — and it tastes pretty good, too.
Meeting Your Cravings
Even though science has stated cravings are just in your head, there is still some science behind the reason you crave chocolate during your period. You’re not necessarily craving chocolate itself — you’re craving the nutrients chocolate provides, specifically, magnesium, calcium and sugar, as well as carbohydrates.
Chocolate isn’t the best way to get these nutrients, but it is usually the tastiest, so some in moderation could be good. If you want to try to avoid chocolate, try taking a calcium supplement to help curb the cravings.
Hormones are a pain, especially when Aunt Flo is visiting. You end up spending most of the week in a bad mood, which is exactly why you should keep some dark chocolate around. One study has shown enjoying a piece or two of dark chocolate can help to turn your mood around in as little as three minutes. Is chocolate good for your period? Well, it can help keep your hormones — and your mood — a little more balanced.
While three minutes isn’t enough time to have the chocolate affect the neurotransmitters in your brain, researchers theorize the mood shift is due to the sensory pleasure associated with consuming chocolate. Don’t eat too much of it, though — the same study also found guilt frequently follows that pleasant feeling, which will undo all the good work your chocolate treat did. Enjoy your chocolate, and don’t feel guilty about indulging — it can be good for you, as long as you enjoy it in moderation.
Back pain and cramps are just two of the many joys of being on your period — there’s a reason we keep a bottle of Midol in the cabinet and another in our purses, right? In addition to being a tasty treat, chocolate may help reduce some of the pain you’re feeling during your period.
In a lab test, rats who ate chocolate experienced dulled pain responses. Chocolate isn’t the only thing that creates this effect — the rats experienced the same response after drinking water and artificial sweetener — so you can dull the pain associated with your period by enjoying your favorite snack or just drinking a glass of water. Let’s be honest, though — if you’ve got an excuse to eat chocolate, why are you going to choose anything else?
Not everyone loves a piece of chocolate, but it can be a great way to make your period a little bit more bearable. Even if you don’t eat chocolate the rest of the month, don’t feel bad about indulging during that time of the month. It doesn’t just taste good — it can help reduce your pain and stress levels, and even make you feel a little bit better.
Just stick with dark chocolate — the higher the cocoa level, the better the benefits. Milk chocolate doesn’t cut it, no matter how tasty that Snickers bar is. So, is chocolate good for your period? We’re going to say yes!