Women’s Chocolate Cravings on Their Period: Biology, Emotion and Culture

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why do i crave chocolate on my period

Have you ever wondered ‘why do I crave chocolate on my period?’

If so, you’re not alone. Women’s cravings for chocolate actually have been a topic of discussion for centuries! 

  • Biology – Some say it’s biological, like if you are bleeding and your blood lacks magnesium.
  • Emotions – Another reason why women crave chocolate when it’s that time of the month is emotional. We all know a bar of dark chocolate can improve your mood!
  • Culture – Culture plays an important factor too because menstrual cravings for chocolate are not universal. In Egypt 6% of women report craving chocolate on their period compared to 50% for women in America.

Now, I’m a guy. And very often guys have intruded upon female body discussions with an air of superiority.

I admit I know only little about periods and menstrual cycles!

But I work with many people who identify as female. Recently a woman asked me about why she craved chocolate while on her period.

But this woman said she ONLY craves chocolate while on her period. At no other times does she feel these cravings. I’d never heard that before!

I didn’t have a good answer for her, so I wanted to research this question in more depth.

Turns out menstrual cravings for chocolate are not rocket science!

There are pretty good reasons why women get chocolate cravings when on their menstrual cycle.

“Why Do I Crave Chocolate On My Period?”

1 – Biology

A woman’s menstrual cycle is when her body sheds the lining of the uterus. This includes blood, endometrial cells and uterine tissue.

Losing blood can leave a person feeling tired and low on energy. 

One reason is that  blood contains magnesium, which helps regulate emotions and, some say, can reduce anxiety levels as well.  Another theory is that during periods, women can have a magnesium deficiency, which can cause nausea.

So when you lose blood then you might be low on magnesium.

Chocolate contains magnesium so it makes sense that some people might crave it, especially women who experience PMS (premenstrual syndrome) symptoms like headaches or cramps.

Nausea / Stomach Issues From Menstrual Cycle

One of my female friends said that sometimes she gets nauseous on her period. She doesn’t want to eat anything.

But despite her nausea she says she can still eat chocolate. Sometimes chocolate is the ONLY thing she eats while on her period.

Have you ever felt nauseous and weren’t able to eat some foods, but you could eat other foods just fine?

Chocolate is ideal for stomach cramps and times when your stomach is upset. Here are several reasons why:

  • Easily digestible
  • Contains carbs and fat which is what you need if you are not eating!

Ice cream also contains fat and calories. If you’re hungry from a diet, or not eating because of your menstrual cycle, then your body may need those extra calories!

In this respect chocolate is no different than ice cream! But of course, women experience life differently and emotions matter too!  Let’s discuss emotions next.

2 – Emotions

chocolate cravings period

What about when women experience emotions like depression or anxiety while on their period? Studies show chocolate can actually help improve mood!

This is because  endorphins get released from eating the sweet, sugary treat.

Endorphins are the ‘happy’ chemicals. They are released when our brains think about eating or experience pleasure. These endorphins actually have a mood-boosting effect. They can help ease the feelings of depression!

Do you remember your first time experiencing the mood-boosting effects of chocolate?

Maybe it was in middle school when your friend told you to eat Hershey Kisses with her at lunchtime?

You traded your apple for two kisses because she said they were better than apples and would make you feel good.

Who doesn’t like a hot cup of dark chocolate melted and blended into a frothy drink?

3 – Culture

Despite the valid and rational biological and emotional reasons for craving chocolate, especially on a menstrual cycle …

Not ALL women crave chocolate during their time of the month.

For example, this study with hundreds of participants shows only 6% of Egyptian women get chocolate cravings on their periods.

How do you explain these numbers when American females are 10x those percentages?

This is where culture becomes important.

In American and other western cultures, chocolate is often associated with holidays, birthdays and other celebrations.

Additionally, food and drug advertising have made chocolate synonymous with comfort.

When American women crave chocolate on their periods, it is often related to these societal expectations.

There also are tons of women’s nights out. I can’t remember how many times I’ve heard female friends of mine saying they were having a wine night.  Certainly nothing wrong with that …

But tell me – how many of these wine nights are chocolate free?!

Plus, the entertainment industry loves to pair entertainment and chocolate together.  So you can eat a whole box of chocolates while watching your favorite TV show or movie!

Bottom Line:  Women in western cultures may get more cravings for chocolate during menstruation partly in response to cultural images and advertising.  Regardless, there are great biological and/or emotional reasons for craving chocolate if you do.

Is It Bad To Have Chocolate On Your Period?

No!  It is actually natural for women to crave chocolate when they are menstruating. Chocolate releases endorphins that make us feel good.

It’s a way to treat yourself after all the hard work your body does each month!

Is Chocolate Good During Periods?

This might seem like the same question, but there is a subtle nuance.

Eating chocolate during periods is safe and can be a positive experience.  But if you’re too much chocolate, or anything else that contains sugar, we can’t say this stuff is ALWAYS good. 

Moderation is better than total restriction or total pig-out!

Have some chocolate, don’t restrict and use your best judgment.

If your chocolate cravings are too much  then reach out to us here at Eating Enlightenment, or to family and/or friends.

Final Thoughts On Why Women Crave Chocolate On Their Period

Women may crave chocolate on their period due to the emotional and hormonal changes that are happening in their bodies.

Another factor is culture. Many cultures are indifferent to eating certain foods like chocolate during periods.

The truth is no one knows exactly why women get these cravings.

Having small amounts of dark chocolate will not harm you and can make you feel better while on your period. So indulge if you need! 

Have any questions about this? Let me know in the questions below.

About the Author

Jared Levenson is a former binge eating wrestler turned Zen Buddhist Monk, Internal Family Systems counselor and nutrition wellness coach. He's helped hundreds of people through universal meal principles and internal family systems to make peace with food, stop binge eating, and find true health and wholeness.


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