Around 80% or more women are prone to cravings of food, bloating, fatigue, mood swings, erratic sleep patterns and irritability during PMS (Pre Menstrual Syndrome). PMS deals with disruptive emotional and physical changes caused by hormones which destroy healthy diet eating patterns. The mind tricks you to binge on sweet foods and there is a loss in will power which lets you drift away from your healthy diet.
Hormones like oestrogen and the stress hormone cortisol are the major culprits responsible for these cravings. Cortisol tends to increase and the hormone serotonin which is responsible for calming mind reduces. This causes PMS cravings for sweets, carbs and fatty foods.
Some healthy ways can be adopted to deal with PMS cravings.
Eat complex carbohydrates: Include snacks rich in complex carbs like whole grain bread, pastas and cereals when you experience hunger pangs. Low sugar cereals like oats, a slice of whole grain toast or a baked potato (with the skin) can improve the serotonin levels in blood within an hour when eaten.
Avoid too much fat: It takes a long time for absorption of carbohydrates if fat is present in abundance in your food which in turn suppresses serotonin production. Moderate amount of healthy fats can be taken with the meals. For eg: drizzle a few drop of olive oil on your salads.
Eat essential fatty acids: You can have foods rich in essential fatty acids like salmon or nuts which helps in slow absorption of carbohydrates, stabilise the blood sugar and helps stop cravings.
Drink plenty of water and fluids: At least drink 8-10 glasses of water to flush out toxins from body and reduce bloating. You can also drink tender coconut water, buttermilk, lemon water to keep yourself hydrated and to get the essential nutrients.
Keep the meals distributed: By replacing three large meals with small frequent meals and 2 healthy snacks in between, the blood sugar levels can be more stable which will help cut down on cravings.
Avoid hunger: Eat your meals time to time to avoid binge eating or over eating as you don’t have control over your emotional stability when you are hungry, especially during PMS. Set up a regular routine which helps in reducing PMS.
Limit processed sugar: Avoid simple sugars as it can increase insulin secretion which stimulates appetite for carbs and fats. Also, eating too much of sugar can make you age faster, making your skin dull and more prone to wrinkles.
Restricting coffee and cola: Excess caffeine can lead to irritability, dizziness, diarrhoea, increased thirst and headache, and by limiting the intake of caffeine, all these symptoms can be reduced. Reducing caffeine also helps in reducing the breast soreness.
Cut down on alcohol: Alcohol can deplete the body from vitamin B which is needed in metabolism of carbohydrates and can make you feel more depressed.
Take cinnamon: Include cinnamon in your diet which helps to regulate blood sugar and helps to ease sugar cravings. A pinch of cinnamon can be added to oats, milk, yogurt, cereal like corn flakes.
Be physically active: Physical activity of 30 min which increases your heart rate can help you release stress and have a control on emotional or stress related eating. You can consult a fitness expert to help you do some exercises during your PMS.
Avoid stress: Get enough sleep and avoid stress as much as possible. Get six to eight hours of sleep to get good rest and have control over your eating.
Keep the hormonal levels under control by including the above-mentioned remedies during your PMS to combat cravings.