Let me start off by saying that it is normal to be hungrier before your period. This is because oestrogen and serotonin drop off in the lead up to your period, and they are your natural appetite suppressants.
When serotonin is low, we crave carbohydrate foods because they give us a boost in serotonin- the happy brain chemical.
In this phase of your cycle you also have relatively high amounts of progesterone, which is appetite enhancing.
If you are hungrier during your premenstrual time, please eat more, it’s fine and totally normal. Your metabolic rate is higher during this time anyway so you burn more calories. If your cravings are extreme, and you are desperate for sugar, this might mean that you are low in magnesium.
Here are a few tips to manage food cravings during the premenstrual (luteal) phase of your cycle:
1. Avoid sugar
- Sugar is inflammatory and will only worsen your PMS
- Instead reach for protein rich snacks such as nuts or boiled eggs. Sliced apple with almond butter is a great combo if you’re craving something sweet, or for a delicious choccie hit without the blood sugar spike try the Sweet Potato Brownies (in the Moonbox “Food For Your Cycle Guide”).
2. Eat foods that are rich in tryptophan to boost serotonin:
- Poultry- chicken, turkey
- Moonbox Earth Seeds
3. Boost magnesium levels:
- Moon Boost – spray on stomach and legs morning and night
- Food sources of magnesium:
- Almonds, Earth Seeds, avocado, cashews, macadamias, and dark leafy green vegetables.
4. For a long term fix – improve gut health:
- 90% of our serotonin is made in our gut.
- Lower levels of serotonin are linked to a disturbed gut microbiome (bacterial imbalance)
- Improve gut health with lots of prebiotic and probiotic foods
- Stewed apples are one of the best gut healing foods you can eat (gently stew organic apples with cinnamon over low heat). Keep a batch in the fridge and eat cold or warm. Add it to chia pudding or coconut yoghurt.
In some circumstances of PMS (such as PMDD) supplementation and herbal medicine are highly beneficial. For personalised treatment plans, gut microbiome testing and more in depth naturopathic support, click here.