Salty, Sweet, Spicy, Oh My! Decoding Your PMS Cravings

French fries, chocolate, chicken, oh my! These and many other indulgent goodies tend to have the same thing in common: they're PMS staples.

Black girl eating french fries
Photo by nappy from Pexels

For those of us who menstruate, the days leading up to our next cycle can be tumultuous. Many experience mood swings, bloating, sore breasts and intense food cravings. I asked my Facebook friends to name their most craved food items. Here are their answers!

Salty and Savory Foods:

  • Cheese (i.e. mozzarella sticks, pizza, mac & cheese)

  • Potato Chips

  • [Cheese] Popcorn

  • Burgers

  • French Fries

  • Chicken (they really love it fried)

  • Sushi

  • BBQ Sauce

The glands responsible for regulating our hormones require minerals (including salt) to function properly. If you experience heavy periods and typically have a light-salt diet, your body might be craving these treats to maintain normal blood pressure. Potato chips, fries, popcorn, chicken, sushi and BBQ sauce can all come with hefty amounts of salt. You may also be dehydrated! Bodies crave salt to encourage water retention (hello belly bloat).

Cheese has a hidden power called Phenylalanine. This amino acid increases dopamine, which often results in improved mood and energy. Our bodies need to obtain this amino acid from diet, so craving cheese makes a lot of sense; odds are your period does not leave you jumping for joy on its own.

Sweet Foods:

  • Ice Cream

  • Chocolate (several variations)

  • Bread

  • Cake (bonus if it's chocolate)

  • Lemonade

  • Peanut Butter

  • Cookies (i.e. Oreos)

  • Milkshakes

  • Chocolate candy (i.e. Snickers)

My friends were not shy about their love for chocolate! Shedding the lining of our uteri is hard work and can leave us in need of magnesium and iron. You know what is loaded with those minerals? Cacao, the non-processed parent to cocoa and grandparent to chocolate. Consider consuming dark chocolate when the cravings kick in to increase your antioxidant intake as well! Generally speaking, sugar has more of a placebo affect on PMS - it just makes you feel better.

Spicy Foods:

  • Hot Cheetos

  • Hot Sauce

  • Sriracha

I haven't found much research linking spicy foods to PMS or menstruation, though there is some anecdotal evidence that, like sugar, spice boosts your mood. The rush of something spicy can trigger endorphins for those who enjoy the taste. Just remember to enjoy with care and be mindful of other digestive troubles you might be experiencing at this time of the month.

Sexy..Foods.. (because your partner is a snack too.)

One of my not-so-shy friends proclaimed that she also craves d**k around this time of the month. A few other friends chimed in to share in the sentiment. It's an open secret for menstruating folks that the one time where you don't really want to do it is when you actually want it the most.

Your hormones are still fluctuating, so an increased desire to have sex could be due to a bunch of things. Sex can improve your mood, and even relieve cramps, during menstruation. A lot of folks avoid it altogether, but if you're fluid-bonded with your partner and not squeamish, you can still get down. If you aren't fluid-bonded, use barrier methods to prevent transmission of pathogens (this makes for easier clean up as well). Consider keeping dark towels/sheets on hand and maybe aim for the lighter days. You're already indulging in chocolate (a natural aphrodisiac), so fun doesn't have to stop there!

What do you crave most during menstruation? Share in the comments below!