Women who are on their PMS will know that the type of cravings and intense feeling of indulging in food is almost unbearable. It’s easy to say stick to your diet and remember that binge eating isn’t a good idea. It’s tough when you’re experiencing hormone imbalances, and the only way to satisfy your PMS cravings is to eat whatever you like.
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Though you might think that cravings are a harmless treat, they really can have a negative effect if you don’t know how to moderate. It’s important to know how to stick to a healthy diet without going crazy due to your cravings.
Why Do Cravings Occur During PMS?
Food cravings occur because hormonal imbalances trigger psychological responses. Sudden changes or alterations in our hormone levels will trigger the chemicals linked to the brain and digestive system. This is why cravings can happen very suddenly during PMS.
Neurochemicals and hormone levels are always unstable during the time of the month, and so food cravings are quite normal. However, keep in mind that it’s important to differentiate food cravings and food impulses, which is a more intense and serious addiction to food and is a symptom of an eating disorder.
Other causes of food cravings can also be from:
- Excessive consumption of processed and refined sugars
- Lack of sleep, rest, or not having enough energy
- Malnutrition of important nutrients such as vitamins, proteins, and healthy fats
- A lack of communication being transmitted between the brain and the digestive system due to vitamin deficiency
- The smell or memory of a food that may trigger neurological senses
- Mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression
- Hunger can be mistaken for dehydration due to a lack of liquid consumption
- A drop in serotonin during PMS may result in changes in mood and eating patterns
How to Satisfy Food Cravings Without Going Overboard
During PMS, it’s important to eat healthily, get enough food and maintain good habits without letting your food cravings derail you. Just because you can’t overindulge, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your meal.
With that being said, here are a few diet and lifestyle changes you can make to overcome your food cravings without ruining your diet or health.
1. Go for Protein
Try to include protein in your meals as it will help you to moderate blood sugar imbalances. Protein foods such as chicken, red meat and eggs are great as they help you to feel full, replenish and give your muscle strength, which is essential to have during PMS.
2. Complex Carbohydrates
Go for carbohydrates that are slower digesting, keep you feeling full, and provide you with energy throughout the day without feeling sluggish or craving for more.
Complex carbohydrates such as nuts, vegetables, legumes, seeds, and beans to name a few, are perfect as they pack lots of excellent nutrients and will help you feel full so you don’t have big craving issues later.
3. Maintain Magnesium Intake
Studies have shown that magnesium levels in women will drop during PMS. This can lead to fatigue, low energy, as well as mood problems that can lead to overeating.
Eat foods such as nuts, almonds, brown rice, beans and sunflower seeds as they are rich in magnesium. Some of these foods can be taken as in-between snacks and a healthy alternative to processed or unhealthy foods when you experience sudden hunger.
4. Don’t Stress
Stress can be a prominent factor in sudden food cravings. Some people find that indulging in delicious foods can help bring up their mood levels, and before they know it, they’ve eaten fat too much in their calorie intake.
It’s essential to practice daily routines that can help you to unwind, de-stress, and relax a little. Having a little less stress in your day can help to keep your hormones in check and stop you from acting out by eating when you’re feeling moody.
5. Go Out and Enjoy The Sun
Sunlight contact with the skin can help to increase serotonin levels in the body, which can help you in managing your food cravings. Simply going outside, breathing fresh air and letting your skin feel the warmth of the sun is enough to boost your serotonin levels, as well as decreasing stress to help you manage those food cravings better.
6. Get in Some Physical Activity
Even though while going through PMS isn’t the ideal time to exercise, being active instead of sedentary will help you manage your craving as well as maintaining healthy body weight.
Exercise will help boost endorphin levels; in turn, your appetite will decrease. A walk in the park, vacuuming in the house or simply working in the garden is enough to make a difference.
Keep in Mind
As menstruation happens every month, it’s good to build up discipline, so it doesn’t always feel like a battle when your sudden food cravings arise. It is also important to know that satisfying your cravings every once in a while with your favourite food is okay as long as you know your limits and how to moderate it.
If you have an existing health condition or an eating disorder or notice that you are gaining significant weight during PMS, speak with your medical practitioner on how to approach a better diet plan that works best for you.
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