If you are one of the 85% of females affected by pms symptons then you know what I mean about cravings.  The emotional and physical symptoms of pms are serious enough in an estimated 40% of women to  seriously affect their daily routines or activities.   The most commonly agreed upon reasons for pms have to do with the altered hormone levels of progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone as well as serotonin and cortisol according to the American College of Obstetricions and Gynecologists.

I know what millions of other women know.  PMS symptoms are real and the most troublesome one for many is the intense sugar or carbohydrate cravings and the bloating.  I don’t need a calender.  I can accurately predict my exact menstrual start date by the intense cravings that hit a few days before.   I might be in the grocery store and find myself making a bee line to sweets aisles I would normally just pass by.

Is there a cure?  I don’t think there’s a cure per se- but I’ll share what I’ve found and how I cope the best I can.

First of all,  Accept that  your  brain chemistry is altered.  You’re not weak because you are having these cravings.  It does not indicate you have a nutritional deficiency.  You’re not alone and there is scientific evidence to suggest you have a greater need for calories during this time.   So real hunger is increased also.  So here’s what I do to prevent cravings from snow-balling into all out eating disaster.

1.) Increase the Volume of  Proteins and Vegetables  first.  When you increase protein and vegetables- you will feel more satisfied more quickly and often the initial craving for sweets will often disappear or lesson greatly.

2.) Don’t go too Long without Eating.  You blood sugar will be more dramatically affected during pms days- and more frequent feedings with protein and veggies will keep your blood sugar from getting so low that you’re reaching for the cookie jar.

3.) If the Craving are still Strong after you’ve Filled up on Protein and Veggies, then Opt for Complex Carbohydrates and Healthy Fats to Satisfy your Cravings.  This is the time of month I allow for increased carbohydrates and I get creative to meet my sweet tooth with them.  For example, this past week I made chocolate black bean brownies and I frosted them with protein powder fluff or natural peanut butter.  It did a wonderful job of satisfying my sweet craving and need for increased carbohydrates without setting me off on an unhealthy sugar binge.

4.) Exercise  does a Great Job of Keeping Craving at Bay.  Exercise has a positive effect on glucose metabolism plus it has a positive impact on endorphins which make you feel good and  increasing seratonin which keeps the sugar cravings at bay.  Plus when you get out and exercise you get your mind off of eating at the very least!

5.)  Give in to Cocoa!  Everybody who loves chocolate has probably experienced that euphoria feeling feeling.  Cocoa has a number of chemicals that cause this euphoria  including phenyethlamine and serotonin.  Phenyethlamine actually releases opium like compounds that provides the feeling of pleasure many experience when they eat chocolate.  You can add unsweetened cocoa to a protein shake or make a hot cocoa drink  with low fat milk or almond milk and sweetened with stevia.  Cocoa works for me!

6.) Try 5HTP.  Part of the whole cravings issue is related to low seratonin.  We crave carbs which provide an easy way for us to increase seratonin levels.  5htp is a direct pre-curser to seratonin.  So when you supplement with 5htp in divided doses throughout the day, your seratonin levels will remain higher without the high amount of carb consumption required to produce a similar level.  Try 100mg  3 times a day.  I don’t do greater than 100mg during the day as any greater makes me sleepy.  5HTP is great before bed by the way!

7.) Vitamin B-6.  My mom has been telling me to try B-6 for PMS symptoms for years.  I never tried this because the the energy drinks and supplements I take already include b-6.  The amounts that are purported to allieve pms symptoms are supposed to be a greater though.  I’ve been told and read a dose of 500mg should be sufficient to allieve symptoms.  Give it a try.

8. Calcium and Magnesium.  Calcium and Magnesium supplements are reported to alleive symptoms by 50% according to the American College of Obstetricions and Gynecologists.  The doses recommended are for 600mg calcium and 300-500mg magnesium.

9. If You’ve Tried All Else and Absolutely Need to Have Something Sweet, Give In To It.  Sometimes nothing else will suffice.  The intense sugar cravings usually only last a day or 2 sometimes.  So how much damage can you do if you give in to a few cookies once in a while.  icon smile PMS cravings?  Whats the cure?