You Might be Able to Enjoy a Chocolate Bar Guilt-free: This Chocolate Bar May Relieve Menstrual Cram
You Might be Able to Enjoy a Chocolate Bar Guilt-free: This Chocolate Bar May Relieve Menstrual Cramps
When it’s that time of the month, it’s not uncommon for many women to reach for a good ol’ chocolate bar as a guilty pleasure to enjoy before and during menstruation. With all the cramps, fatigue, bloating and…other symptoms… enjoying a chocolate bar or two can feel like it’s one of the few pleasures women experience during periods. But the popular opinion about chocolate having a lot of fat and calories in each serving can make chocolate seem bad for you and stop you from reaching for that KitKat, Snickers or pack of M&Ms. Fortunately, thanks to recent research, you don’t have to feel so guilty for chowing down on all those chocolates. Chocolate has benefits beyond great taste.
The Benefits of Chocolate for Menstrual Cramps
The reason why is not only does chocolate taste good and light up our pleasure zones but it can actually help alleviate menstrual cramps. That is, if you’re eating the right kind of chocolate. This is because chocolate contains a lot of magnesium. Magnesium in recent studies has been shown to help relieve muscle tension (menstrual cramps) and boost energy (combat the usual fatigue associated with pms).
When you eat chocolate your body also receives endorphins, otherwise known as “happy hormones”, that help take your mind off focusing on the pain which can also help ease cramping. According to a recent study “researchers from the National Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology in Tunisia have discovered that food cravings before menstruation are triggered by fluctuating hormone levels. This can lead to women eating an extra 500 calories a day.” Most of the extra calories the subjects ate were supplied by carbohydrate-rich foods like sweets and chocolates. So that monthly craving you get for chocolate or ice cream may actually be your body telling you that your serotonin levels are low, which is very common before your period, and that the body needs those types of foods to help increase your mood. (Serotonin is the chemical that helps balance your mood.)
To maximize the benefits of chocolate you have to make sure that you’re consuming the right type of chocolate. Opt for a high quality, high cacao chocolate – 65% or more cacao in fact. Or, if you prefer a lighter tasting, milk chocolate-y bar you can opt for the Frauenmond bar. “Frauenmond” actually translates to “women’s moon”. The Fraudenmond bar was created by Lucerne, Switzerland-based chocolatier Chocolate With Love, for the express purpose of alleviating menstrual cramps. Marc Widmer, the creator of the bar says that the bar has 60% cocoa solids and over 17 different Swiss herbs to help combat cramps. The menstrual cramp-busting bar retails for about AUS16 a bar (which might be a little too pricey for some women).
No matter which option you choose to alleviate your menstrual cramps you no longer have to feel guilty for eating chocolate before or during your period. Experts recommend that because of its high fat content and calories, though, you shouldn’t go overboard on the chocolate. Apparently a quarter of a bar, or less, packs enough magnesium and serotonin to help suppress mild cramps. So go ahead and enjoy your chocolate just before or during your period.