Can Chocolate Really Help Reduce Period Pain?
Period pain is no fun. While not everyone with a period experiences menstrual cramps, those that do, know how crippling it can be. While we haven’t heard of any doctors willing to prescribe large amounts of chocolate to their patients who experience period pain - maybe they should because it turns out the stories you hear about chocolate helping reduce menstrual cramps isn’t just wishful thinking!
While traditional pain medications can help alleviate period cramps - a few bits of choccy can also work wonders according to some, especially if it’s dark chocolate. Admittedly the research hasn’t been extensive, but two small studies definitely seem to suggest that choccy can provide relief to menstrual pain. In Indonesia, a boarding school surveyed 50 teenagers on the effects of dark chocolate versus milk chocolate on period cramps. The results found that those who ate up to 40 grams of dark chocolate for the first 3 days after their periods started had significantly less menstrual pain compared with those who drank 40 grams of chocolate milk daily for the same amount of time.
In another study, researchers at a university in India divided 90 students into three groups: those who ate 120 grams of dark chocolate per day for 3 days after their periods started, those who drank 120 grams of milk chocolate per day during this time, and those who drank no chocolate. The results concluded that the milk chocolate group had small improvements in menstrual pain, but the dark chocolate group had the best improvement.
Admittedly these studies are small, but hey - we’re here for the benefits of chocolate 100%. Next they need to do a study on the benefits of Netflix marathon sessions to help with period pain.
So what is it in chocolate that might help with cramps?
The hero ingredient is magnesium - which is found in higher concentrations in dark chocolate. Magnesium helps to relax muscles. Period pain comes as the uterus contracts after shedding its lining. When the uterus lining sheds hormone-like lipids called prostaglandins are released which cause the contractions. As well as relaxing the muscles, it’s also possible that magnesium inhibits the production of prostaglandins. Dark chocolate is higher in magnesium than milk chocolate, which may explain why it seems more effective at reducing period pain. An ounce or 28 grams of 70–85% dark chocolate contains 15% of the recommended daily intake of magnesium, while the same amount of milk chocolate only provides 4%.
What Other Foods Can Help Reduce Period Cramps?
Some studies say foods rich in vitamins B1, D, E, and K, calcium, zinc, and boron help reduce inflammation and could also ease painful periods. Supplements specifically designed to help with period pain are worth looking into but a balanced diet which focuses on nutrient-rich food is a fab starting point too. Here are some of our fav foods to eat when we have our period. Here are some foods that are rich in nutrients that may ease menstrual cramps:
- Oranges and mandarins
- Quinoa and brown rice
Make sure you focus on eating a balanced diet. As much as we hate to say it, a diet of just dark chocolate isn’t what we are recommending here. Everything in moderation and if you can, avoid overly processed foods. Trust us - fresh food with lots of veges, fruit and protein will have you feeling at your best during your period.
There are some other pain relief remedies for menstrual cramps. These include:
- Anti-inflammatory meds such as ibuprofen
- A hot water bottle, or warm wheat pack on your lower tum
- Gentle exercise such as yoga or walking
- Sex - having an orgasm will release endorphins which can help alleviate pain. Mess-free period sex? Our Hello Disc™ has you covered.
So there you have it friends, dark chocolate and sex - pleasures to relieve the pain! Literally.