As females, we’ve all been there. We’ve searched and scoured the internet for any method, any tool, that could be used to stop the sharp, aching, all-consuming pain that comes during our menstrual cycle. Many have wondered, “Does dark chocolate help with cramps?” It makes sense as the food cravings, especially for chocolate, are many times overwhelming during the menstrual cycle. The body craves what it needs…right?
Interestingly enough, dark chocolate does work as a tool in reducing menstrual cycle pain and symptoms due to its content of magnesium and copper.
Below, we’ve included a boatload of information for all the gals out there struggling during their menstrual cycle desperately searching for something, anything, to help with the period pain oftentimes caused by cramping. As a bonus, we’ve added information on nutrients that have been proven to reduce menstrual pain and symptoms along with the addition of foods that are high in these nutrients.
Does Dark Chocolate Help With Cramps?
It can! Dark chocolate can aid in soothing the pain caused by period cramps due to its high magnesium and copper content.
A mineral that can often be discovered in dark chocolate, rather than milk chocolate, magnesium boasts 15% of the daily recommended intake for magnesium (for a one-ounce 70-82% dark chocolate) compared to milk chocolate which only contains 4% of the recommended intake.
Magnesium is notorious for aiding in the relaxation of muscles, hence why it is believed to also ease the uterine contractions that cause pain during menstruation.
A one-ounce 70-82% dark chocolate boasts 56% of the daily recommended intake of copper, another powerful mineral. Though not as studied like magnesium as a tool that aids with pain relief during menstruation, copper is also believed to be efficient as the mineral is used in the body to create endorphins, a chemical for pain relief.
Other Nutrients That Help With Period Pain
In studies, it has been shown that vitamin B1 can significantly reduce pain caused by period cramps. Easily available to be taken as a supplement, vitamin B1 also reduces the duration of period cramps while severely reducing the pain intensity and duration.
Believed by scientists to be the cause of severe pain-causing cramps, there is a hormone called prostaglandins. This hormone triggers what we know as period cramps or uterine muscle contractions. A higher level of prostaglandins is known to cause incredibly severe menstrual cramps.
Vitamin D comes into play with this hormone by aiding in the reduction of the production of prostaglandins. This works to reduce the pain caused by this hormone with its lower production, and therefore, lower pain causation.
Through researched studies, vitamin E has been shown to significantly reduce pain caused by menstrual cramps. The supplementation of vitamin E also reduces blood loss caused by menstruation.
It has been confirmed through studies that vitamin K reduces pain caused by menstrual cramps. Vitamin K regulates hormones, like the hormone prostaglandins, which can aid in ensuring a regular period but also by preventing excessive menstrual pain.
In recent studies, it has been shown that consuming a recommended daily intake of 500mg of calcium reduces symptoms caused by menstruation. The intake of calcium for pain relief during menstruation results not only in pain relief but has been discovered to reduce water retention and cravings.
An antioxidant with powerful anti-inflammatory qualities, zinc has been proven through studies to reduce pain caused by menstruation. This is possible due to zinc’s anti-inflammatory properties. By reducing inflammation in the bloodstream, zinc allows oxygen and blood to flow steadily to the uterus, which will prevent period cramping.
Another great tool for reducing period pain, boron, like zinc, has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce pain severity and therefore, duration, of menstrual cramps.
Other Foods That Help With Period Cramps
Without added calcium, tofu holds about 100-200 mg in each serving. Tofu fortified with calcium boasts about 850mg per ½ cup. The recommended intake for calcium is about 1,000mg, and simply intaking 500mg of calcium has been proven to significantly reduce symptoms caused by menstruation. One serving of Nasoya’s extra-firm tofu packs 10% of the daily recommended calcium intake!
Rich in magnesium, avocados are also rich in antioxidants and monounsaturated fats that have anti-inflammatory properties. Magnesium and nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties have been shown to significantly reduce menstrual pain by increasing blood flow to the uterus.
Rich in essential nutrients that aid in menstrual pain reduction, such as vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin D, oranges are another powerful food that can be used as a tool against menstrual pain.
You probably didn’t even think to consider this food option, but brown rice is full of magnesium and thiamine (also known as vitamin B1). Both nutrients have been proven to aid in the reduction of menstrual pain.
Another food most don’t realize can be used as a tool for the reduction of menstrual pain, farro is rich in magnesium, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. These nutrients reduce PMS symptoms and pain caused by period cramps.
High in vitamin E and vitamin B6, almonds have been proven to reduce symptoms caused during menstruation.
High in potassium and vitamin B6 content, bananas are widely known to help with menstrual pain. Potassium works to regulate muscle contractions while vitamin B6 aids in the regulation of hormones, like prostaglandins which can significantly increase menstrual pain.
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Does chocolate make your period heavy?
It does not! Dark chocolate, due to its magnesium and copper content, actually aids in relieving menstraution pain.
Does milk chocolate help with cramps?
Milk chocolate doesn't have an impressive magnesium content compared to dark chocolate, so it is not as favorable when using to relieve pain caused by cramping.
What foods help with period cramps?
There are suprisingly a wide variety of foods that can aid with period cramps due to the powerful nutrients inside them. Some examples are bananas, brown rice, oranges, and farro!