Chocolate is something we often crave during our periods. That sweet and creamy treat gives us a little taste of heaven during our week in hell… I mean, am I wrong?
Well, I have good news for you because chocolate actually helps with menstrual cramps! And it’s backed by science *wink* Chocs are packed with healthy nutrients that relieve cramps, boost our mood and even reduce bloating! WOW, defs need that…
Why do menstrual cramps happen?
During menstruation, a type of hormone is released from the uterine walls — prostaglandins. A high level of prostaglandins causes inflammation and contractions, which is what we call menstrual cramps.
Is that why we crave chocolate during our period?
Not really, your body is actually craving for calcium, sugar and carbohydrates found in chocolate. An increase in insulin happens due to the high levels of hormones early in our period, which leads to a reduction in blood sugar level. With all that happening, no wonder your body is crying out for some chocolate sweetness.
So, all chocolates can help with my period symptoms?
If you know how life works, you’d know chocolate being good is a bit sus already, haha!
Chocolates with a cocoa content of less than 70% like milk and white chocolate will NOT relieve cramps. In fact, it might worsen them instead. A stimulant in chocolate called theobromine occasionally causes increased pain and discomfort. Besides, sweet chocolate may even make you feel more emotional due to its sugar, caffeine and theobromine content.
So what actually works?
Dark chocolate with more than 70% cocoa does! It is able to calm your emotions and perhaps, bring relief to those pesky period cramps.
Basically, the higher the cocoa percentage = better benefits!
1. Happy cramping!
Dark chocolate relaxes and soothes the muscles causing cramps with its high levels of magnesium. Magnesium plays a big part in neuromuscular transmission and muscular contraction. In fact, it is speculated that lack of magnesium leads to muscle cramps.
Besides that, dark chocolate contains cocoa flavanol, a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties which can help increase blood circulation and thus, reduce menstrual cramps!
2. Bloat no more!
High levels of potassium in dark chocolate can help regulate sodium levels and regulate water balance in the body. Essentially, it will stop your muscles from retaining water and feeling and looking bloated.
Brb, gonna snack on chocolate before I try that tight-fitting dress!
3. Stress-free days ahead
Dark chocolate is proven to reduce the main stress hormone, cortisol. Reduced levels of cortisol means dulled stress brain signals and lowered perception of stress!
It also helps to reduce other stress related changes in highly stressed people, such as the “fight-or-flight” hormones know as catecholamines.
4. Don’t worry, be happy!
Having chocolates can help improve your mood, making you feel calmer and more satisfied = happier.
Dark chocolate helps your body to release certain chemicals like:
- endorphins: our body’s natural painkillers
- serotonin: helps boost our mood
- dopamine: gives us a sense of well-being and satisfaction
These chemicals can give us a good boost emotionally and physically!
Now go forth and snack without guilt! Just make sure to have dark chocolate in moderation — too much of it wouldn’t do you any good.
And while you’re at it, share this surprising fact with someone!