Chocolate Cravings and Menopause
Have you ever wondered why you seem to crave chocolate at certain times of the month or all month long?
If you are a daily consumer of chocolate or you have chocolate on the mind more than usual AND you are a woman then you most likely have something emotional or hormonal that you are compensating for.
Women are complicated, usually our hormones affect our emotions but it is also true that our emotions affect our hormones. And so that endless cycle goes in the day-to-day life of a woman working to achieve balance.
It actually has more to do with your chemistry and hormones than you think.
Cacao is high in magnesium. It is common knowledge that most people are deficient in magnesium. Magnesium balances calcium in our bodies and since the emphasis on calcium is great in the diet, magnesium gets lost in the shuffle.
Magnesium is the yin to calcium’s yang.
Magnesium plays an important role in over 500 enzymatic reactions within the body including food metabolism and the creation of proteins and fatty acids. Magnesium is involved in nerve-muscle communication and specifically relaxation.
Magnesium is important in regulating blood pressure, heart rate, and in helping tense muscles relax. It is calming and can help to reduce stress. Women need about 350 mg per day and when ingested it can help you feel better almost instantaneously.
Nuts, seeds, beans and lentils have the highest dietary amounts followed by dark chocolate. Magnesium is also in fairly high amounts in green leafy vegetables, with cooked vegetables yielding more available magnesium per cup.
Now back to our why chocolate is good for you conversation…Dark chocolate boasts 95mg of magnesium per square. That is a huge amount in a relatively small package.
As an aside milk chocolate is virtually worthless and insignificant to this conversation. The cacao is the magical ingredient. Milk chocolate has low cacao content, which then becomes further diluted with milk and added sugar. This makes it a poor substitute for a magnesium fix.
Magnesium levels drop when there is an estrogen/progesterone imbalance happening in your body. Most women crave chocolate at the second part of their cycle commonly known as the “PMS time”. Women in menopause can crave chocolate all month long as they too have fluctuating hormones. An integrative doctor who specializes in women’s health will be able to test your levels and make recommendations based on your unique needs. Until then, select chocolate with at least 55% cacao, and then work your way up to 72%. The more cacao content, the better you will feel.
Be Healthy, Happy, and Holistic