We all know the clichéd trope that is reaching for a bar of chocolate when you’re on your period, cramping like crazy and suffering from extreme mood swings. But did you know that chocolate can scientifically help during your period?
In this post, we’ll be delving into the wonderful world of the health benefits of chocolate, and exploring the six different ways that chocolate can help to ease your period problems and symptoms. Read on to find out more.
Chocolate alleviates cramps
Our number one reason for eating chocolate during your period? It helps with menstrual cramps.
Cramping is caused by the muscles in your uterus contracting (owwie), which makes you feel painful, sore and achy.
Luckily, cacao contains all sorts of goodies like theobromine and flavanols (packed with awesome antioxidants) which can improve your circulation by dilating your blood vessels. This means that more blood flows to your muscles, which helps to relieve pressure and tension, and tackles your painful cramping.
The magnesium content in chocolate also relaxes your muscles, which helps to reduce pain too.
Raw, fibre-rich choc helps with bloating
If you’re eating unprocessed, raw chocolate, the cacao it contains can give you a hearty dose of the fibre you need in your diet.
Fibre is important for a million and one reasons, but one of the main benefits of a fibre-rich diet is that it supports healthy digestion. This is always a good thing, but particularly so if you’re on your period; you’ve probably noticed that you feel bloated, gassy and heavier during your period, right?
This is down to pesky period hormones slowing your digestive system down, trapping gas and causing bloating (as well as excess water retention in your body).
Adding more fibre into your diet by eating chocolate and plenty of veg can get your digestive system moving again, relieving any bloating.
Pair this with bloating soothers like a hot water bottle, and get comfortable with your fave joggers and your duvet for full comfort. Don’t forget to use some essential oils too — massaging these onto your abdomen muscles will soothe bloating and cramps.
Chocolate sorts out your mood swings
This point completely depends on the type of chocolate you’re going for; processed, high-sugar chocolate bars will make mood swings worse (see point 5), but dark chocolate (70%+ cocoa) can help to sort out those extreme emotions.
That’s because it contains lower levels of sugar but still supplies you with a perky pick-me-up which can boost your endorphins and serotonin levels (happy hormones). This can balance out severe swings, improve our mood and even soothe stress by reducing levels of cortisol — the stress hormone.
What better reason do you need to treat yourself to some chocolate?
Choccy fights tiredness
Anyone who gets periods knows how draining they can be. Low energy levels and tiredness are common problems when you’re dealing with a period, but thankfully this is another issue that chocolate can help with!
The theobromine that cacao contains helps to improve blood flow — tackling muscle fatigue — and stimulate the central nervous system, making you feel more chipper.
Plus, it’s packed full of iron, which you need when you’re on your period to top up the iron you’re losing by bleeding. Not having high enough iron levels can result in you feeling lethargic and sluggish.
The answer? Tackle this with a daily nibble of chocolate, pop on your fave activewear and use your newfound energy to seize the day!
Dark raw chocolate can level out sugar highs and crashes
One of the things you do need to be wary about if you’re going to be eating chocolate during your period (or at any time at all) is the sugar content.
High levels of sugar can have disastrous effects on your poor menstruating body: sugar can make cramps worse, cause you to break out in spots, and make your mood swings worse.
That’s right — sugar might feel like it gives you a quick pick-me-up (sugar rush, anyone?) but the crash you’ll feel after will cause your mood and energy levels to plummet, making you feel even worse than before.
That’s why it’s a great idea to stick to raw, dark chocolate that doesn’t have lots of sugar and calories packed into it, unlike processed milk chocolate bars from shops.
Chocolate like this can help to satisfy that sweet treat craving without tanking your mood and energy levels and is a healthier option if you’re following a diet too. Plus, you can still integrate sweet flavours by indulging in natural sweeteners like honey, vanilla or berries.
Chocolate distracts you!
Our final argument for chocolate-eating during your period isn’t as much of a scientific one, but it still counts…
Chocolate is great for boosting your mood and your energy levels, but it’s also great for distracting you from period pains (as well as alleviating them!).
Perhaps it’s the deliciousness, the indulgence, or the sheer happiness we feel when we lift that perfect piece of dark chocolate to our mouths, but it seems like all of our troubles and menstrual woes just seem to melt away.
As you can see, there are some great ways that chocolate can help to ease period symptoms — which equals six great reasons to eat it.
So if you’re feeling groggy and crampy, get your hands on some tasty cocoa treats and find out for yourself what menstrual magic chocolate can cast….