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That Time of the Month: Why You Crave These 10 Foods and What You Should Eat Instead


Every three or four weeks, without fail, you experience cravings for sugar, meat, bread, and maybe even pickles. Why does this happen? According to registered dietitian Amanda Bontempo, your hormones that fluctuate during your menstrual cycle are responsible.

Click here for That Time of the Month: Why You Crave These 10 Foods and What You Should Eat Instead slideshow.

The fluctuation in your hormones causes spikes in the stress hormone, cortisol, and a dip in pleasure hormone, serotonin. When your body encourages you to reach for foods with a lot of sugar and fat, your mind is simply looking for a way to boost serotonin and reduce the production of cortisol. Although these cravings may feel inevitable, you can make things easier on yourself.

Bontempo recommends eliminating processed foods, caffeine, and refined carbohydrates before your period comes along so that you can help stabilize your blood sugar levels. You can fill your diet with healthy, lean proteins such as an egg-white omelette instead of cereal or French toast.

If they persist, think about satisfying those cravings in a healthier way. We created a craving guide that will explain what to do when your period makes your crave every food in your pantry.

Acidic foods


If you crave acidic foods and drinks, such as citrus fruits, coffee, or even condiments, your body may be looking for magnesium. Try eating raw nuts, seeds, legumes, and fruits for protein, fiber, and healthy fats.

Bread


When you can’t stop thinking about pizza or a turkey sandwich on focaccia, your body could be searching for nitrogen or the amino acid tryptophan. Your body is looking to boost your mood but having too many refined carbohydrates can cause your blood sugar levels to spike, which will then instantly zap your energy levels. Reach for high-protein foods such as turkey, eggs, cashews, walnuts, cottage cheese, or beans.


The Facts About Food Cravings

Ask anyone what foods they crave, and most people will be able to reel off at least a couple of items without hesitation.

Take me, for example. My name is Elaine Magee, and I'm a chocoholic. Just about the only food I crave is chocolate (and sometimes cake and, about once a year, cream puffs or éclairs).

I find comfort in knowing I am not alone. Surveys estimate that almost 100% of young women and nearly 70% of young men had food cravings during the past year. That covers most of us, doesn't it?


The Facts About Food Cravings

Ask anyone what foods they crave, and most people will be able to reel off at least a couple of items without hesitation.

Take me, for example. My name is Elaine Magee, and I'm a chocoholic. Just about the only food I crave is chocolate (and sometimes cake and, about once a year, cream puffs or éclairs).

I find comfort in knowing I am not alone. Surveys estimate that almost 100% of young women and nearly 70% of young men had food cravings during the past year. That covers most of us, doesn't it?


The Facts About Food Cravings

Ask anyone what foods they crave, and most people will be able to reel off at least a couple of items without hesitation.

Take me, for example. My name is Elaine Magee, and I'm a chocoholic. Just about the only food I crave is chocolate (and sometimes cake and, about once a year, cream puffs or éclairs).

I find comfort in knowing I am not alone. Surveys estimate that almost 100% of young women and nearly 70% of young men had food cravings during the past year. That covers most of us, doesn't it?


The Facts About Food Cravings

Ask anyone what foods they crave, and most people will be able to reel off at least a couple of items without hesitation.

Take me, for example. My name is Elaine Magee, and I'm a chocoholic. Just about the only food I crave is chocolate (and sometimes cake and, about once a year, cream puffs or éclairs).

I find comfort in knowing I am not alone. Surveys estimate that almost 100% of young women and nearly 70% of young men had food cravings during the past year. That covers most of us, doesn't it?


The Facts About Food Cravings

Ask anyone what foods they crave, and most people will be able to reel off at least a couple of items without hesitation.

Take me, for example. My name is Elaine Magee, and I'm a chocoholic. Just about the only food I crave is chocolate (and sometimes cake and, about once a year, cream puffs or éclairs).

I find comfort in knowing I am not alone. Surveys estimate that almost 100% of young women and nearly 70% of young men had food cravings during the past year. That covers most of us, doesn't it?


The Facts About Food Cravings

Ask anyone what foods they crave, and most people will be able to reel off at least a couple of items without hesitation.

Take me, for example. My name is Elaine Magee, and I'm a chocoholic. Just about the only food I crave is chocolate (and sometimes cake and, about once a year, cream puffs or éclairs).

I find comfort in knowing I am not alone. Surveys estimate that almost 100% of young women and nearly 70% of young men had food cravings during the past year. That covers most of us, doesn't it?


The Facts About Food Cravings

Ask anyone what foods they crave, and most people will be able to reel off at least a couple of items without hesitation.

Take me, for example. My name is Elaine Magee, and I'm a chocoholic. Just about the only food I crave is chocolate (and sometimes cake and, about once a year, cream puffs or éclairs).

I find comfort in knowing I am not alone. Surveys estimate that almost 100% of young women and nearly 70% of young men had food cravings during the past year. That covers most of us, doesn't it?


The Facts About Food Cravings

Ask anyone what foods they crave, and most people will be able to reel off at least a couple of items without hesitation.

Take me, for example. My name is Elaine Magee, and I'm a chocoholic. Just about the only food I crave is chocolate (and sometimes cake and, about once a year, cream puffs or éclairs).

I find comfort in knowing I am not alone. Surveys estimate that almost 100% of young women and nearly 70% of young men had food cravings during the past year. That covers most of us, doesn't it?


The Facts About Food Cravings

Ask anyone what foods they crave, and most people will be able to reel off at least a couple of items without hesitation.

Take me, for example. My name is Elaine Magee, and I'm a chocoholic. Just about the only food I crave is chocolate (and sometimes cake and, about once a year, cream puffs or éclairs).

I find comfort in knowing I am not alone. Surveys estimate that almost 100% of young women and nearly 70% of young men had food cravings during the past year. That covers most of us, doesn't it?


The Facts About Food Cravings

Ask anyone what foods they crave, and most people will be able to reel off at least a couple of items without hesitation.

Take me, for example. My name is Elaine Magee, and I'm a chocoholic. Just about the only food I crave is chocolate (and sometimes cake and, about once a year, cream puffs or éclairs).

I find comfort in knowing I am not alone. Surveys estimate that almost 100% of young women and nearly 70% of young men had food cravings during the past year. That covers most of us, doesn't it?