Is chocolate good for your period?

Is chocolate good for your period

Is chocolate good for your cycle? Can it actually relieve cramps?

We’ve got a yes-but answer for you. Yes, but not ALL chocolate.

Two ingredients that are in most chocolate bars are cacao (or cocoa) and sugar. Cacao* is a highly nutritious superfood that boasts a wide range of health benefits. Studies suggest it may improve brain function, reduce inflammation and lower your risk of heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, for example.

Excessive sugar intake, on the other hand, is linked to inflammation and an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and more This is important to call out because the average American woman consumes 3x the recommended daily limit.

To make your chocolate consumption not only guilt-free but good for you, the trick is to choose chocolates with lots of cacao and just a little bit of sugar (or no sugar at all). Dr. Weil considers chocolate bars that are 70% or higher to be a healthy addition to your diet.

One of the reasons we love cacao and dark chocolate is that they’re rich in magnesium, which helps relax your muscles, ease aches, and reduce pain. That’s what got them on our list of five foods that naturally relieve cramps. It also contains easy-to-absorb iron, which is great for producing quality blood.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cycle-related benefits. Studies have shown that cacao, and to a lesser degree dark chocolate, may:

If you’re sold on cacao and want to up your intake without adding more sugar to your diet, here are a few things you can do:

Have a cacao recipe you love? Share it with us in the comments section. We’d love to try it out.

*Note: there’s some confusion about the terms “cocoa” and “cacao” and how they are used. In general, they both refer to the same ingredient, but there are variations and different degrees of processing. It could be raw or roasted, whole or ground, fermented or washed, for example. We’re using “cacao” throughout as that is the word used for its purest form. Sometimes people use the term “cocoa” when it is roasted or ground but others continue to use “cacao” for that. Because brands are so inconsistent with this, it’s hard to know the difference based on the word used. We’d suggest not getting too caught up on this – as long as it’s not Dutch processed, you’ll be getting lots of benefits from the cacao or cocoa. (The process used for Dutch cocoa compromises some of the health benefits. For example it leads to a 60% decrease in flavanols, which are known for their potent anti-inflammatory effects.)