6 ways to beat menstrual cravings

You’re too busy to deal with cramps and cravings once a month - here’s how to beat them off.

We all crave foods at certain times. Sometimes it’s an urge to indulge in the sweetest food available. Other times it may be a craving for foods you wouldn’t normally eat. However, the sudden hearty appetite that can appear during menstruation is something many women will identify with.

A common myth is that overeating will occur during menstruation, but research has shown that the changes in actual food intake are likely to be minor. It’s also unlikely to contribute to weight gain, given the slight (5-10%) rise in metabolism that occurs at the same time. Weight gain during this period is often the result of fluid retention, so it is important not to be disheartened by a temporary increase on the scales.

The average menstrual period ranges from 4-8 days. So what survival skills can be implemented to ensure that healthy eating efforts are maintained during this time?

“Magnesium has been reported to reduce cravings, and may drop leading up to menstruation.”

 

1. Eat regularly

Small, regular meals help to prevent overeating at main meals, help stabilise blood sugar levels, reduce the number of persistent cravings, and make you less irritable. Ideally, a meal should contain three components:

  • High fibre, low glycemic index foods such as wholegrain breads and cereals, legumes, fruit and starchy vegetables.
  • Lean, protein containing foods such as fish, meat, poultry, unsalted nuts, tofu (soy protein) and eggs.
  • Food containing healthy fats, such as nuts and seeds, olive oil, avocado or oily fish.

Protein and fat reduce the rise in blood sugar levels after a meal, allowing the food to digest and release energy more sustainably.

2. Fill up on healthy snacks

Enjoy fruit with yoghurt or vegetables with dips such as hummus and guacamole. Have these readily available and chopped up ready to eat.

3. Add magnesium

Magnesium has been reported to reduce cravings, and may drop leading up to menstruation. Chocolate is high in magnesium, likely explaining chocolate cravings. Consider other foods containing reasonable amounts of magnesium such as nuts, seeds, brown rice and legumes. If you do have chocolate, opt for a dark variety containing at least 70% cocoa.

4. Try to relax

Stress can increase cravings so learn some relaxation techniques, or plan another activity you find relaxing, such as a long walk.

5. Boost your serotonin

Both sunshine and foods rich in trypotophan (mainly found in animal and soy protein) may boost the feel good hormone, serotonin.

6. Exercise

Get moving either through planned exercise or other enjoyable physical activities. It will produce endorphins (more feel good hormones) and decrease appetite.

Nutrition and regular physical activity are key to overall good health, helping us to feel better, think clearer and perform better. Don’t eat less – eat right.

Look after yourself with nourishing food, relaxation and gentle exercise to keep those munchies at bay.

Recommended reading - The power of yoga

Lifestyle

40 days of yoga

Medibank member Liz shares her experience two weeks into a 40-day yoga challenge.

Read more
Community

Get fit and flexible with hot yoga

Benefits to your body and mind that the listed types of hot yoga offers you.

Read more
Health Check

7 minute yoga routine

Clear your mind, soothe your soul and revitalise your body with a simple daily yoga practice.

Read more
Community

Wintertime yoga

Bring flowing movement indoors during the cooler months and start a home yoga practice.

Read more
Lifestyle

Yoga for strong bones

Get balanced – research suggests yoga can help to prevent, slow and even reverse osteoporosis.

Read more
Lifestyle

The benefits of yin yoga

Get grounded and nourish your body with the gentle, deep practice of yin yoga.

Read more
Experts

The power of Yin yoga

How the practice of Yin yoga can revitalise our lives through inner stillness and sensory awareness

Read more
Lifestyle

Yoga for runners

Enrich your running training with restorative yoga positions before and after your workout.

Read more
Lifestyle

Which style of yoga should you try?

Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Iyengar – confused? We untangle some of the most popular types of yoga

Read more
Community

What do you love about yoga?

We asked what yoga does for our community members - we were inspired by what we heard.

Read more
Travel

The 10 best travel destinations for yoga lovers

Rejuvenating travel destinations, perfect for practising your warrior pose.

Read more
In Brief

Yoga for heart health

Adverse to aerobics? A Harvard University study suggests Yoga may have the same cardiovascular perks

Read more
Community

Letting go with aerial yoga

The things you learn while hanging from a soft, silk hammock in the air.

Read more
Community

How yoga can change your life

Corrine has cleared up her skin, lost weight, toned up and improved her mental health with yoga.

Read more

For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.