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Chocolate induces release of happy hormones endorphins and serotonin. You feel more relaxed and cheerful with chocolate right?
As you get used to feeling good from chocolate, you start craving it. The cravings get stronger during a period because of excessive blood loss, nutrient drain and the hormonal imbalance.
Amy Stavnezer, Professor of psychology and neuroscience, says the first obvious reason for chocolate cravings is the hormone imbalance. When menstruation occurs there is a 3 to 6-fold change in the level of estrogen and a 4-fold change in the level of progesterone. Some women also experience lower levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin which can cause PMS symptoms.
Are the Polyphenols in chocolate the answer?
Polyphenols are a category of compounds naturally found in plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, tea, dark chocolate, and wine. They all have a varying degree of anti-inflammatory action and antioxidants.
Khaya, the active plant ingredient in Khapregesic® is rich in Polyphenols. It seems to be the ideal supplement for menstrual pain and hormone imbalance.
Why? Firstly, it contains anti-inflammatories to knock the edge off cramping pain. Secondly, it has a high level of antioxidants and pre-biotics for good gut health. A healthy gut assists in creating higher levels of serotonin helping to stave off PMS symptoms.
Caroline Robertson, clinical naturopath and natural health author, conducted clinical case studies on 24 patients using Khapregesic®. Study results concluded that up to 92% of women experienced abdominal pain relief with 70% reporting anxiety relief. Surprisingly, yet consistent with other polyphenol research, 87% of patients experienced some level of improvement in brain function within one hour. Lifting the typical menstrual ‘brain fog’ that so many women suffer through.
Clare Barg, clinical naturopath and former pharmacist, has found that Khapregesic® is the only supplement to address both cramping pain AND PMS symptoms. A breakthrough for natural medicine.
back to chocolate…
Women who crave chocolate during the pre-menstrual phase are experiencing this craving when both levels of estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest. Even more interesting, most women stop craving chocolate just at the start of menses.
Julia Hormes, science researcher, concluded that the chocolate craving might actually be a response to the stress of the oncoming bleeding, and that chocolate is a culturally reinforced way to deal with that stressor.
Women in menopause and post-menopausal, 80% to be precise, still report chocolate cravings. This is despite no longer having menstrual cycles or significant variability in hormone levels over the course of a month (Hormes & Rozin, Appetite, 2009).
A final word, when you crave chocolate, especially around your period, after a stressful day, own it, be mindful of it, but most of all get lost in its creamy rapture.
Practitioners & Pharmacists – technical info and video library on the khaya formula Khapregesic®.
Medical info on hormones: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/hormonal-endocrine-system
More info on neurotransmitters: https://qbi.uq.edu.au/brain/brain-physiology/what-are-neurotransmitters