A reader asks the following question:
“Right around my menstrual cycle, every month, I crave chocolate. Why is that? Is there anything I can do to decrease the chocolate craving?”
Craving Chocolate May Be Magnesium
Unfortunately you are not alone when it comes to craving chocolate. It can feel like our bodies have a mind of their own! About 90% of women experience a food craving around their menstrual cycle. Cravings are the way the body tells us it’s missing something / usually a nutrient found in a particular food. Most people don’t know the missing nutrient so they end up just filling the void and it’s usually with junk food.
Craving chocolate isn’t a weakness – it’s just your body saying that it most likely needs more magnesium.
But, before you load up on magnesium supplements know that chocolate is a powerful stimulant that can increase the flow of the feel-good neurochemicals, dopamine and serotonin, in the brain so you may be craving chocolate as a stress reducer or to give yourself energy. So, take the time to try and identify if you’re under extra stress, need more sleep, or are dehydrated.
If all those areas are good then you may need more magnesium. During the menstrual cycle the amount of magnesium the body needs drastically increases and we will begin to have cravings. The body can’t tell you, “hey give me some more magnesium” because we don’t know what magnesium tastes like, but it can try and get more magnesium by craving chocolate.
Try something like my Chocolate Apricot Delight Recipe. Dried apricots have about 10% of the recommended daily need of magnesium, then add just a touch of dark chocolate with about 25% of your magnesium. Plus the fruit will give you a bit of an extra sugar lift. Most people won’t continue having cravings for chocolate because you not only get a bit of chocolate you feel the need for magnesium and help balance the body system.
I’ve got some great videos, including the Chocolate Apricot Delight Recipe, coming out this month to help you manage some of these cravings – including chocolate cravings.
My Eat Well to Live Well with Kellie Hill show on Monday, October 7, 2013 covered food cravings (including craving chocolate), why they happen, what nutrient deficiencies may be indicated by the craving, and foods to eat to help you balance your craving. If you missed it, listen on iTunes.