Why Do You Crave Salt When On Period? What Can You do To Stop Craving

Craving for salty snacks is a symptom that is commonly encountered by many women prior to their menses. It is one of the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Many women suffer from premenstrual syndrome during their reproductive age. The syndrome consists of physical and psychological symptoms. They arise probably a week or ten days before periods. Symptom severity is more in women of the age 20 to 30. What causes this monthly hankering is not very well understood. But it is believed to occur due to change in hormones. In some women salt craving diminishes as menstruation begins.

While some women may still crave for salt for few days after menses has stopped. Whatever may be the cause, if you crave salt or salty snack beyond certain limit be careful as eating more salty food has its drawbacks such as retention of fluid in body leading to breast tenderness and swelling in fingers and ankle during menses.

Causes of salt craving before and during periods

Many women undergo certain changes before and during menses. These changes can be emotional, physical or behavioral. The changes that occur are termed as premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Salt craving is one of the symptoms of PMS. Other symptoms are increased mood swing, anger, irritability etc. Food craving is a prominent symptom, especially for sweet and salty food. The exact cause for this is unclear. But most researchers believe it is related to changes in hormones that occur prior to the onset of menses. The cause of increased craving for salty food is believed to occur due to certain changes in brain chemical called serotonin. Before menstruation the hormonal level of body fluctuates a lot so does the level of serotonin. As a result some women feel more depressed during this period. This may make them crave for food, mostly salty snacks such as potato chips. It is because the body uses carbohydrates to manufacture serotonin.

What you need to do when you crave excess of salty food?

Eating excessive salty food before and during menses may not be a good idea. As too much of salt can increase fluid retention in the body which may manifest with symptoms such as breast tenderness, headache, bloating, swelling in fingers and ankle etc. Many women may also complain of pain in back few days prior to menses. If the symptoms are severe, they may interfere in daily life of a woman. A woman can take several precautionary measures to stop inevitable salt craving.

  • Eat foods that are rich in magnesium, calcium and Zinc. These foods will reduce the craving for salty food. Eat green leafy vegetables, nuts and beans, whole grain, cheese, tofu, cashew, pumpkin seeds etc in your diet. Avoid eating salted nuts.
  • Avoid eating packaged and processed food. Most of them have added salt in them.
  • Exercise daily for 45 minutes. Practice yoga and meditation as this will help to reduce depression that triggers food craving.
  • Curb your craving for salty food by eating frozen yogurt with fresh fruits.