Does Chocolate Help Cramps?

It is quite natural to experience pain, cramps and bloating just before and during your period. This is because you experience contractions in the uterine muscles when the levels of prostaglandins increase during your period. Many women find it difficult to deal with these symptoms and often look for ways to make their condition better. Many women crave for chocolate during period and believe this will help ease cramping. Is it true? Should you be consuming it?

Does Chocolate Help Cramps?

No, it does not. In fact, you may actually make your symptoms worse by eating chocolate. The reason is that chocolate is a rich source of an alkaloid called theobromine which stimulates your central nervous system and accentuates pain and discomfort. Moreover, chocolate can constrict blood vessels, which is mainly due to the presence of caffeine. This can further aggravate your menstrual cramps.

Actually, except from chocolate, there are also some other foods that you should stay away from to avoid making your cramps worse.

1. Caffeinated Beverages

Found in coffee, teas, and soft drinks, caffeine can constrict blood vessels and increase tension in the body. This tension can make your menstrual cramps become worse. Coffee also contains certain oils that can irritate the intestines. Therefore it is better to consume decaffeinated beverages only during your period.

2. Alcohol

You should avoid alcohol during your period because it is a diuretic and may push your body to retain more water. This can cause bloating and worsen the menstrual cramping. If you must drink alcohol, you should never have more than two servings of beer a day.

3. Red Meat

The presence of arachidonic acids makes red meat a big no-no during period. These substances can stimulate prostaglandins which are actually responsible for causing menstrual cramps in the first place. It is better to avoid it to keep your symptoms under control.

4. Dairy Products

Yogurt, cheese, milk, and butter can all play a role in making your cramps become worse. It is better to avoid dairy products during period, but if you really want to have some, be sure to consume sparingly. The reason to avoid dairy is the presence of arachidonic acids that can cause serious cramps.

5. Salty Foods

Just like alcohol, salty foods also promote water retention, which is not good during period. This leads to bloating that will eventually make cramping worse. Be sure to avoid foods high in sodium, such as fast foods, chips, processed meals, and Chinese food dishes such as lo mein and General Tso's Chicken. Limit your salt intake during period and, if possible, use fresh herbs in place of salt in all your dishes.

Foods That Can Help with Cramps

Does chocolate help cramps? No, it does not; in fact, it makes matters worse. You can include certain foods in your diet to help relieve cramping during period. Here are some suggestions:

1. Bananas

Include bananas in your diet because they are a great source of potassium and vitamin B6 which help dilate your blood vessels and reduce water retention at the same time. This really helps if you experience bloating during your period. You can mix bananas with non-fat yogurt, toss in a fruit salad, or even eat plain.

2. Wheat Germ

Since it is a rich source of vitamin B6, you can always include it in your diet to deal with menstrual cramps. Moreover, wheat germ also provides you with zinc, magnesium, vitamin E, and other B vitamins. You can add wheat germ to cereals, breads, milkshakes, muesli, or pancakes.

3. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds provide you with vitamin-E, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B6. The presence of vitamin B6 helps sunflower seeds relieve pain and discomfort you experience during your period. Moreover, the vitamin improves the absorption of magnesium and zinc. Just consume in moderation because seeds are usually quite high in fat and calories.

4. Parsley

It is one of the best foods to include in your diet because of its ability to stimulate menstruation. Along with many other nutrients, parsley contains a compound called apiol, which helps stimulate the menstrual process. It also relieves menstrual cramps effectively.

5. Pineapple

Does chocolate help cramps? No, it does not. So what can help? Including pineapple in your diet is yet another way to ease cramping a bit. Pineapple is effective because it contains an enzyme called bromelain. This enzyme relaxes your muscles and reduces menstrual cramps as well. The highest concentration of bromelain is in the stem of a pineapple.

6. Ginger

Ginger has a variety of health promoting properties and is often used in traditional Chinese medicine as a remedy for menstrual cramps. Many women have tried ginger during menstruation and enjoyed its amazing effects. To get the best results, you should use fresh ginger only.

7. Walnuts

While walnuts are certainly high in fat, they still offer several health benefits mainly because they contain omega-3 fatty acids that your body cannot make on its own. These fatty acids help reduce inflammation in the body and prevent free radical damage to the cells. A cup of chopped walnuts provides you with 31% of your recommended daily intake of the pain-relieving vitamin B6. They also contain magnesium and help ease cramps quite effectively.

8. Oats

Oats are effective because they are rich in anti-cramping mineral magnesium. They also provide you with zinc that helps ease cramps. Be sure to soak oats for several hours before eating to ensure they do not contain phytic acid that can block the absorption of zinc, calcium, and magnesium in the intestines.

More Tips for You to Deal with Menstrual Cramps

Does chocolate help cramps? You ask. Unfortunately, it does not, but there certainly are other foods and natural ways to deal with menstrual cramps. Here are a couple of things to try:

1. Apply Heat

You can apply heat to your lower abdomen to control menstrual cramps. Heat works because it relaxes the contracting uterine muscles. Here is what to do:

  • Get a heating pad and place it over your lower abdomen. Be sure to apply heat until you feel better.
  • Get a towel, soak it in water, wring out the excess water, and then put it in the microwave for a minute or two. Then place it directly on your lower abdomen. Repeat the same every few minutes until you feel better.
  • Consider taking a hot shower to help control your menstrual cramps.

2. Do Moderate Exercise

Simply stretching your abdominal muscles may help deal with cramps. You can try certain yoga poses or opt for other fitness routines to improve blood circulation to your pelvic region. Even a short walk will do the trick. It is a good idea to do moderate exercise because it releases endorphins that make you feel good and relaxed. 

 
 
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