Yes, it's normal to have a voracious hunger before the rule (and these are the keys to not eating worse)

When the rule is coming, one can perfectly imagine herself making a Bridget Jones: wrapped in her Nordic to the eyebrows and eating ice cream straight from the kilo pot. If it's funny, it's because, for many, it's real. Those who understand—or imagine—what they're supposed to be taken with humor, precisely because they know that PMS symptoms are no joke. Breast hypersensitivity, abdominal and pelvic pain, swelling, headache and joint pain, insomnia, severe tiredness, anxiety, lack of self-control, introversion or sadness are just some of the most common, and more than 150 symptoms have been described," says gynecologist Nestor Herraiz . Those desire to compulsively eat chocolate, chips or any other source of carbohydrates is just another of the consequences of our hormone cycle,

An underdiagnosed disorder

According to the Spanish Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is "a set of symptoms and physical, psychoemotional and cognitivebehavioral signs" related to the woman's menstrual cycle that alter, to a greater or lesser extent, her daily activity or their interpersonal relationships. These symptoms appear between one to two weeks before menstruation, coinciding with the luteal phase of the cycle, that is, from ovulation to first bleeding. However, "symptoms can last until the fourth day of rule," adds Marta Adserá, gynecologist at the Dexeus Mujer center,

the scientific cause for why it still happens is uncertain. The most widespread belief is that it stems from hormonal fluctuations during the cycle, "where estrogens and progesterone are unbalanced," says Herraiz. In addition, there are other factors that could cause or aggravate it: the lack of regulation of other hormonal systems (suprarenal, renovascular), anemia, deficit of certain vitamins or depression. "We know that there is an underdiagnosis of this disease, as many patients consider these symptoms as 'normal,' the gynecologist acknowledges. Although only 2% to 15% of cases are classified as a severe and day-to-day disorder for women, known as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, it is estimated that 75% of women of childbearing age suffer from any of the symptoms.

The why of pre-rule atracones

A research carried out by experts from the University of Leeds (United Kingdom), which reviews 30 studies of 37 groups of women in the 80s and 90s, concludes that there is an increase in energy consumption during the luteal phase. This difference in energy consumed was significant in 25 of the 30 jobs analyzed and it was observed that women who suffered from more severe premenstrual symptoms, as well as those suffering from depression, were more likely to have the 'eating' of food. "All women have physical changes after ovulation to a greater or lesser extent, there is some genital hypersensitivity and personality is more irritable, and it is easy to have less self-control with food, to use it as an anxiolytic to generate endorphins that mitigate hormonal pain or irritation," explains the gynecologist.

That's why we're at candy. According to the findings of another Cambridge University study, women who had said they felt angry, depression or tiredness during the luteal phase felt much better after ingesting carbohydrates. "There is a scientific basis that by eating sweet or high-carb foods the brain absorbs Tryptophan, an essential amino acid alongside GABA, precursors of mood regulators (serotonin and dopamine) and in constant interaction with ovarian hormones and CAtecholamines," explains Herráiz. When Serotonin and Dopamine drop, catecholamines rise; but the stress ends as soon as we eat sugar. "It serves as a powerful 'opiate' and anxiolytic," he adds,

The problem is that, according to research we can ingest between 500 and 1,100 extra calories a day, which our body does not need. In fact, another of the theories that are shuffled in the studies is that just knowing that we are going to eat something that makes us happy already reduces anxiety. Now, it's not worth using science for what's best for us: your body may ask you for carbs, but it's not he who's suggesting a burger for you,

How to

adapt the diet to PMS and not go out of calories?

If you're going to eat carbohydrates, let them be slow-absorbing, "If you don't choose the carbohydrates you consume well, you'll have a sugar spike, but as fast as it rises as low," warns Xus Murciano, nutritionist of Dexeus Mujer. Complexes satiate us quickly but, unlike simple ones, they gradually "provide energy and help us control blood sugar levels." They are whole foods," he recalls, they are those that are made with at least 50% wholemeal flour, vegetables or vegetables


Between hours, satiating fruit, To calm the nervousness between hours, Javier Aranceta, chairman of the Scientific Committee of the Spanish Society of Community Nutrition, recommends eating satisfying fruits, such as the yellow kiwi —"a nice fruit full of fiber", he says , or the carrot, which has benefits beyond sight,

eat nuts and seeds, They are also complex carbohydrates and are a great source of magnesium, which can play an important role in controlling the anxiety and irritability generated by hormonal mismatches, as well as calming cramps, for example. Aranceta recommends almonds (natural and repellent, without salt or sugar), and nuts because of their content in omega 3. This one, which is also found in blue fish, is also able to regulate the mood. Murciano, for its part, highlights flaxseeds and chia seeds, which can also help us regulate intestinal transit if there is constipation, another of the symptoms of PMS.

If you want a treat, have dark chocolate, Not a tablet, but Aranceta would allow you to take one ounce a day. "In addition to being a more desirable alternative to seeking that emotional balance, it also contains a lot of magnesium," he says. However, it has more than 80% cocoa,

There is no magic solution, And it's hard to find a substitute as appealing as white sugar, plus "marketing does a lot of damage," the nutritionist says. But we have to find a way to turn around what we find fun or appetizing in relation to food. For example, Murciano says that, in these days when it is so important to hydrate, he recommends to all those patients who "do not like water", to add cucumber or lemon. Or have their own sugar-free ice creams made, with fruit or yogurt smoothies, fruit and seeds,