If there's anything that's synonymous with your period, it's cravings. When that time of the month comes, you just want foooood, whether that's sweets or snacks of the crispy, salty variety. But have you ever wondered why?
"Food cravings tend to occur due to biochemical changes related to the menstrual cycle," Oluwakemi M. Edokpayi, MD, an ob-gyn at Northwestern Medicine, told POPSUGAR. "Hormones, such as serotonin, decrease when menses start. These decreases can change your mood, making you crave certain foods. And when you eat certain foods, serotonin and dopamine can be released, thus improving your mood."
And while it can seem like you're drawn to salt-laden foods specifically (mmm, fries), these cravings — even the sweet ones, like chocolate and ice cream — tend to have one thing in common: carbs.
"I find that women crave carbs more than salt specifically," Dr. Edokpayi said. "One theory for the craving is that carbs can restore the serotonin level that has decreased, improving overall mood. And this may apply to salty foods as well."
Dr. Edokpayi assured us that cravings are a very normal and temporary side effect of your period, but if you find that you're eating a lot of junk, it may make you feel worse. In that case, she said, "Try choosing healthier options to snack on — like fruits and nuts — and try other options like exercise and meditation." "Make sure you increase your water intake and get adequate sleep as well."