If you're a woman, it's likely you've experienced PMS cravings. Most women will tell you it's true, that during their cycle they might having cravings for chocolate, or whatever else our wacky hormones are telling us we need.
In an article that first appeared on The Conversation, Sarah Twogood (an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology) explored the reasons that science shows us that these cravings are ok. Apparently, cravings are one of the most commonly reported symptoms of PMS (or premenstrual syndrome), ranking up there with mood swings and irritability.
Apparently, women tend to eat more in general during the phase of their cycle leading up to their period. Typically, we're reaching for carbs, fats and sweets (sounds about right). The data showed that even women who weren't formally diagnosed with PMS still experienced this effect of eating more, however what they were eating seemed to be slightly different.
Her research showed that there are a few reasons why this may be the case. Carbs can affect the amount of seratonin released in the brain, which could mean that we are seeking these foods in an attempt to boost our moods. Other reasons that have been hypothesized by researchers are simply hormones, or that we want to eat those pleasurable foods in an attempt to make ourselves feel better. Seems legit.
The data she found seemed to apply to women in this phase of their menstrual cycle, regardless of whether they were actually diagnosed with PMS as a condition. Ultimately, Twogood's advice in the post was for women to learn their own cycles and bodies to help manage these cravings and other premenstrual symptoms. She also recommended doing the things to help alleviate PMS, and how doing so may lead in a reduction of the cravings that go along with it.
Regardless of why, it seems that these cravings are a totally normal and common part of the cycle. Possibly as natural as the existence of the cycle itself. So the next time you're PMS'ing and feeling like you just HAVE to have some chocolate, keep in mind that you aren't being unreasonable. You're simply listening to your cycle!