Does Drinking Chocolate Help With PMS?

Hot chocolate is like a hug inside a mug, cosy, soothing, and delicious.

But did you know it could also be your new PMS hero? Believe it or not, drinking chocolate has many great benefits for easing unwanted period symptoms. If you're looking for a little relief during your time of the month, read on for four ways hot chocolate can help!

4 ways hot chocolate can help your PMS

Here are four science-backed ways that drinking chocolate can help your period symptoms.

1. Magnesium in chocolate reduces cramps

Chocolate is an excellent source of magnesium, which plays an important role in muscle contractions. Why? Well, period cramps occur when your uterus muscle contracts. The cause of these contractions is from calcium in your body binding to the proteins of the muscle which changes the shape of the proteins and generates a contraction. Magnesium helps by naturally blocking calcium, and in turn helping the muscle to relax.

Studies have shown that women who have low blood levels of magnesium experience more painful periods than those with higher blood levels of magnesium. Consuming chocolate helps replenish magnesium in the human body. In fact, chocolate contains 252.2 mg/100 g of magnesium, compared to bananas which contain only 27 mg/100g.

2. Zinc & copper in chocolate reduces the pain of cramps

Zinc is an essential trace mineral that your body uses in everything from the immune system to reproductive health to cognitive functions. In scientific research, zinc has frequently been studied for its ability to help reduce the symptoms of PMS.

There are numerous hypotheses for how zinc reduces period pain, but these are some of the top theories that scientists are working on:

      • Zinc prevents your uterus from producing PgE2 prostaglandins which are responsible for contracting and tightening of the uterine muscles (known as period cramps) in a similar way to anti inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin.
      • Zinc improves blood flow and circulation around the body, and assists in blood and oxygen reaching the uterus (which prevents painful cramping).
      • Increased zinc may also affect the balance of hormones which are responsible for causing low mood during the luteal phase (when PMS is most likely to occur). 

Dark chocolate is also rich in copper, which is used by the body to synthesise neurotransmitters called collagen and endorphins. Endorphin hormone is an analgesic and natural sedative to reduce pain intensity such as menstrual pain. (Source)

Additionally, zinc and copper deficiencies have been linked to 
hypothyroidism which can cause symptoms such as hair loss, mood swings, fertility problems and an irregular heart rate. 

3. Iron in chocolate reduces severity of PMS symptoms

Dark chocolate is naturally high in iron, containing about 12mg/100g. But why is this so important?

Iron is an important mineral that your body relies on to create serotonin and dopamine, maintain healthy levels of red blood cells and give you energy. Because heavy menstrual bleeding reduces your bodies natural iron stores it's especially important for people with periods to get an iron rich diet. 

Researchers in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that women who consumed more than 20mg of iron daily were 30-40% less likely to develop PMS than women who got less of the mineral.

"Our advice from this study is pretty similar to what we've taken from previous work... Not focusing on any one nutrient per se, just make sure your diet is balanced and you're meeting the (recommended daily amount) on your own vitamins," Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson, from the University of Massachusetts

4. Chocolate is rich in potassium for reducing PMS bloating

Over 90% of people who menstruate are said to experience bloating during or before their periods. This unpleasant symptom can come with pain and embarrassment, but thankfully chocolate can actually help with this too. 

Amongst many other health benefits, potassium regulates the fluid balance in our bodies, and therefore reduces bloating by decreasing excess water retention. 

Dark chocolate is rich in potassium, containing around 300mg/100g of dark chocolate.

Not all chocolate is equal 

Almost all studies show that dark chocolate (higher percentage of cocoa), with less sugar has the highest benefit. Our PMS drinking chocolate uses high quality cocoa and contains no refined white sugar. Not only is the chocolate we use more nutrient packed than many on the market, it's also much tastier and ethically produced! 

So whether it's potassium, magnesium, iron, copper or zinc you want to replenish your body with - drinking chocolate may be the answer. Much more delicious than taking supplements, and more convenient than changing your whole diet, one mug full of femme cacao each day of your period could help you with the following period symptoms:

  • Cramping
  • Pain
  • Fatigue 
  • Bloating and water retention 
  • Low mood 

You deserve to feel like you on your period, so if any of those symptoms are weighing you down and impacting your life - try Femme Cacao

Don't forget to speak to your doctor if you have any PMS concerns, and enjoy Femme Cacao drinking chocolate alongside professional medical support.

Scientific References

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