The days leading up to a women’s menstrual cycle (period) are often dreaded because of the infamous symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). This is when a menstruating woman’s hormones naturally take a drastic dip to the lowest level she’ll experience in her menstrual cycle. As a result, women can experience symptoms such as mood swings, bloating, decreased energy, constipation or diarrhea, and headaches; each to varying degrees.
One method for minimising symptoms of PMS is to look at the nutritional needs of the female body at this time. Ever wonder why women crave chocolate when they’re experiencing PMS? Well, its partly due to cacao being a one of the richest forms of magnesium, zinc, and iron. Not to mention it’s a natural mood-booster!
Ensuring a woman has enough magnesium, zinc, and iron can have a positive effect on PMS symptoms, especially in the 10-14 days leading up to the start of menstruation each month (in a typical 28-day cycle). Why are these minerals important? Magnesium supports the body to maintain balanced hormones, zinc supports the production of the hormone progesterone, and iron helps to prevent anemia.
Before you grab a bite of chocolate, remember that quality is important to get the highest natural mineral content. Raw cacao is quite different in terms of nutritional benefits than processed cocoa. To create cocoa (used in most chocolate foods), raw cacao is processed at high temperatures, resulting in diminished overall nutritional benefits. Therefore, raw cacao is the better choice for magnesium, zinc, and iron.
Raw cacao nibs and cacao powder can both be used to provide nutritional benefits during the premenstrual phase. Try sprinkling cacao nibs on your oats or smoothie bowl, adding cacao powder to your smoothie, or making your own raw chocolate with cacao powder.