For ages, women have been suffering from the pain that accompanies their monthly cycle. Menstrual cramps can be severe enough to interfere with day-to-day activities for a few days every month, particularly in home and school activities for late adolescents. There are various ways to ease this pain, but one very effective and delicious way is to consume dark chocolate during these days.
Is Chocolate Good for Periods?
Yes, chocolate is good for periods, particularly dark chocolate. Many studies have shown eating chocolate during the period can relieve menstrual pain.
As per a study conducted on 50 menstruating teenage girls, dark chocolate reduces menstrual cramps and pain. In this study, girls who consumed 40 gm of 69% dark chocolate bar during the first three days experienced less pain than girls who consumed chocolate milk chocolate during the same period.
Another study conducted on 40 girls of Indonesian universities also showed eating chocolate during periods causes a significant reduction in period pain.Another study conducted by researchers of an Indian university found the same. In this study, 90 female students were divided into three groups. The first group ate 120 gm of dark chocolate and the second group drank 120 gm of milk chocolate during the first three days of periods. The third group had no chocolates. After the study, it was found that there has been a slight improvement in menstrual pain in the second group, and the first group showed the best improvement.
Can We Eat Chocolate During Periods?
Yes, teenage girls and adult women can eat chocolates during periods. The body's oestrogen hormone level fluctuates during periods, resulting in mood swings. Our body balances it by releasing cortisol (stress hormone) and then releasing serotonin (feel-good hormones). The secretion of serotonin requires carbs, sugar, and salt.
You can get the serotonin hormone requirement fulfilled by eating chocolates during the period. Dark chocolates are high in magnesium, potassium, copper, and iron. They relax the muscles and uplift the mood. At the same time, milk chocolate has fewer minerals and is loaded with excess calories. It can result in bloating and weight gain. So, it is best to eat dark chocolate with more than 65% of cocoa beans during periods.
But, how much chocolate can we eat during periods? Well, not more than 1.5 ounces or 42 gms. More than that can cause side effects like weight gain, nausea, and indigestion.
What foods should you eat on your periods?
Some foods help to ease cramps and reduce inflammation caused during the menstrual cycle. These foods include leafy vegetables rich in iron content, cold-water fish rich in omega 3 content, oats, cashew nuts, and apples that are good sources of magnesium and zinc. Additionally, bananas and eggs are highly rich in vitamin B, and dark chocolate, which contains 85% of cocoa.
Chocolate and periods
How is chocolate good for periods? Chocolate and periods have a strong connection. Dark chocolate is the only food that can act as a soothing pill.
People have a belief that dark chocolates during periods help to ease the pain, but it is actually not dark chocolate—the reason is its vitamin and mineral content. Chocolate bars have a fair amount of magnesium and potassium, which is essential for our body. That is why women usually crave dark chocolates during menstrual days. Their sweetness works wonders during the menstrual cycle, and they are one of the best remedies to ease period pain and cramps.
Milk vs. dark chocolate – do milk chocolates help with the cramps?
Milk chocolates help to ease the pain, but they are not as effective as dark chocolates. The reasons are myriad. Milk chocolate contains cocoa and is loaded with excess sugar, butter and has double the calorie amount, which usually worsens bloating and causes weight gain, unlike dark chocolate. On the other hand, dark chocolate consists of heavier amounts of the healthy cocoa bean, and is high in magnesium, potassium, and iron. All these minerals help to relax your muscles and uplift your mood without resulting in high calorie consumption.
White chocolates are also the reason behind increased period pain and cramps. They help elevate prostaglandin levels, which results in increased period cramping and pain. Hence, dark chocolate during periods are preferable; however, in limited quantities.
How are dark chocolates beneficial to ease period cramps?
Do you know the secret ingredient that makes dark chocolate such a great food for controlling period pain? It is the high amount of cocoa present in the chocolate.
Cocoa content is important here because it is an excellent source of flavonoids, which is a particular class of antioxidants. The delicious treat even contains anti-inflammatory properties that help women control their PCOS and other period-related issues, resulting in a comfortable time of the month. Also, they are easy to include in your diet and do not require hours of preparation.
Stress - Days of bleeding for a female are quite stressful, and hormonal changes only make it worse. Dark chocolate reduces cortisol levels, which is the stress hormone, thereby providing comfort to them.
Uplift mood or mood swings - Dark chocolate also improves mood by increasing serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain, which are happy hormones. Absolutely, the sweet taste of chocolates can lift anyone's mood. Flavanols available in dark chocolate play a considerable role in boosting the mood.
Relieves cramps – Potassium content in dark chocolate stops muscles from retaining water and feeling bloated, thus, helping to ease cramps.
Boost energy - The secret behind the energizing and mood-boosting power of dark chocolate lies in its content of caffeine and stimulates, such as theobromine and tryptophan. These ingredients are precursors to serotonin, a hormone that helps to induce calmness in humans. The content of dark chocolates fulfills the essential vitamins needed by the body like magnesium, potassium, cocoa, etc.
Acne - Those facial skin bumps and acne troubles a lot of women during periods. The remedy to controlling those skin challenges lie in the sweetness of dark chocolates. They are enriched with minerals that stimulate cell regeneration and healing properties of the skin. This delicious treat also helps with other facial issues that accompany the menstrual cycle, ultimately making your skin look good.
Iron-rich - Dark chocolate is also an excellent source of iron and helps to improve blood hemoglobin levels. The need to have sufficient levels of hemoglobin helps to reduce fatigue and keep those days full of comfort.
Aching muscles - There is a considerable amount of magnesium present in dark chocolate, which works as a fruitful remedy for sore muscles. Therefore, it helps elevate hip, abdomen, and thigh muscle aching, thereby making you feel comfortable.
More than that can cause side effects like weight gain, nausea, and indigestion.
Does Chocolate Reduce Period Pain?
Yes, chocolates reduce period pain and cramps.
It's normal to have menstrual pain and cramps. However, suppose you feel extreme pain that keeps you away from participating in normal daily activities. In that case, it is best to consult a healthcare practitioner to determine the underlying cause and treatment.
Normal pain and cramps can be relieved by lifestyle and dietary changes.
Period pain and cramps result from powerful uterine contractions resulting in shedding the uterus lining. Certain nutrients affect the process causing period cramps. Such nutrients are-
Magnesium: 28 gm of 70-80% dark chocolates contain 15% of the daily value of magnesium, while the same amount of milk chocolate provides 4% of the daily value of magnesium. Dark chocolate has more magnesium than milk chocolate, which explains why dark chocolate is more effective.
As per studies, magnesium relaxes the muscle that can ease uterine contractions. Also, it inhibits the synthesis of chemicals such as prostaglandin that can stimulate contractions. Another study suggests that low blood magnesium level is also associated with painful menstrual cramps and pain.
Copper: 28 gm of 70-80% dark chocolate provides 56% of the daily value of copper. Some researchers claim that copper helps produce chemicals that can relieve pain and ease menstrual cramps.
Other Micronutrients: As per a study, other micronutrients found in dark chocolate have anti-inflammatory properties to ease painful menstrual pain. Such micronutrients are-
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
Summing Up on Is Chocolate Good for Periods
Period pain and cramps result from uterine contractions and uterus lining shedding, resulting in menstrual bleeding. It can range from mild to severe pain that can cause discomfort when doing normal daily activities. Certain foods help relieve the symptoms.
Several studies have shown dark chocolate for periods is beneficial. Also, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can provide essential micronutrients that ease period pain and cramps. Staying hydrated and having foods that maintain your energy levels can also help.
Certain home remedies include heating pads, massages, light exercises, and pain-relieving medications. Even after trying all the methods, you experience severe pain, consult a healthcare practitioner for treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does Dark Chocolate Make Your Period Heavy?
Research claims that dark chocolate is good for periods. Its rich iron, magnesium, and other micronutrient content help menstruating women. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), women with heavy period flow suffer from iron deficiencies and lose more iron per cycle than women with normal periods. One ounce or 28 gm of dark chocolate can give 3.4 milligrams of iron, and it's about 19% of the recommended iron intake for adult females.
Which Dark Chocolate Is Best for Periods?
Eating any dark chocolate won't help. Pick a variant with more than 65% cocoa beans. They can relieve period pain and cramps without gaining many calories. The best dark chocolates for periods are-
1. Dark chocolate with a touch of Sea Salt
The blend of dark chocolate with sea salt helps combat stress and produce chemicals called endorphins. They can uplift the mood.
2. Chilli Dark Chocolate
Chilli is a good source of antioxidants required by the body during periods. This combination is not for women with excess bloating issues, and chilly chocolate may worsen it.
3. Cranberry Dark Chocolate
Cranberry is rich in potassium and vitamin C. The healthy amalgamation of dark chocolate with cranberry is an extreme delight that can elate annoying days.
4. Dark Chocolate with Almonds, Figs, and Hazelnuts
Healthy nuts are full of fatty acids beneficial for women who feel exhausted during their periods. They also have essential minerals such as iron and magnesium. Iron combats tiredness, magnesium relaxes muscles, and healthy fats prevent muscles from cramping.
5. Belgian Chocolate
It is for those who don't like the bitter taste of dark chocolate. It tastes better and has the goodness of dark chocolates.
Is Dark Chocolate Good for PCOS?
Yes, you can have dark chocolates for PCOS. But, be sensible with dark chocolate portions in Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). It is essential to keep a check on weight and hormone levels. So, a square or two of 70% dark chocolate is a good choice. It will supply you with antioxidants essential minerals and also don't have many calories.