Question:

Why do I crave chocolate right before my period?

EXPERT ANSWER
One common symptom of PMS is craving particular types of food. For some women, this food is chocolate! Just like other PMS symptoms, such as cramping, bloating, and moodiness, cravings are likely caused by fluctuations in your hormones. Right before you start your period, the levels of the hormones estrogen, serotonin, and cortisol in your body will shift. For many women, these hormonal changes result in cravings. Some women crave salty foods, others sweets and others fatty foods. The key to managing your cravings during this time of the month is to try to prevent yourself from going overboard. Rather than eating an entire carton of ice cream, treat yourself to an ice-cream cone. Instead of the super-sized candy bar, just have a mini one (or two)! The good news is that this kind of moderate "indulgence" is unlikely to have much of an effect on your weight. Scientists have also demonstrated that most girls and women burn extra calories just prior to starting their periods. So, as long as you keep your chocolate "fixes" small, you should find that you can include them as part of a balanced, healthy diet.
MOM ANSWER
Hormones are playing racquetball in your body and you must, must have that chocolate right? I absolutely know that feeling. My craving is chips and salsa and even though I know salty chips are not always a good thing to cave into right before my period, I do it! Just know you are not alone in having these cravings. From my experience, I do give in a bit because, well, I have too! I think as a rule that's ok, but I recommend not going overboard on the pigging out, because, I don't know about you, but it makes me more bloated and uncomfortable than ever. I try to drink a ton of water and get some form of exercise to help me deal with it. I pump up the fruits and vegetables too, to see if it fills me up enough to leave only bit of room for my craving food. Just remember, don't beat yourself up about it! If you had the chocolate sundae and you're feeling guilty, get on the treadmill or dance around in your room for a bit and work it out.
PEER ANSWER
Ah chocolate, it's my kryptonite when I have my period. I couldn't tell you exactly why it happens but I will say it's definitely okay to indulge a little. Have a piece or two and if the craving for sweets is still there, try fruit or a healthier option!
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