Not since Charlotte pookipsy’d her pants back in 2008, had I seen a woman more desperate. Finishing up with our last client before lunch, my companion mysteriously but with great conviction made her way to the nearest convenience store. This meant only one thing.
Reappearing moments later, resembling a wild animal, she ripped open the wrapper and proceeded to devour her prey, I mean, chocolate bar.
Apologies followed as we continued on with our day. “It’s that time of the month and I just have to eat chocolate” she exclaimed, licking the remaining chocolate from her lips.
Relief and mild amusement swept across my face. Great, I thought. I’m not alone in my monthly mercy dash in search of chocolate. For me, the darker the better.
What makes us crave it so?
Who cares right? We love it. Let’s just go with the craving and eat it. The trouble with indulging in a craving for chocolate is most chocolate bars are loaded with sugar which, unless you are super active and have a great metabolism, will settle somewhere in your body as fat.
What is it about chocolate?
If you can’t go a day without chocolate it could be you have a sugar addiction. But, if nothing can come between you and your chocolate during the days of PMS or the hours just before your period then, apart from the psychological satisfaction chocolate can bring, it could also mean your body in seeking out missing nutrients.
What is our body trying to tell us?
The finely tuned and delicate balance of our hormones, hour by hour, minute by minute dictates more food cravings than you may imagine. The body knows intuitively what it needs. When it comes to PMS and the balance of your hormones. Your body craves magnesium-rich foods. If you’re not getting enough magnesium, then chocolate, especially the dark variety gives the body the quick burst it needs to jump over the hormonal hump you’re experiencing.
Magnesium: The missing nutrient
During the lead up to your period, your oestrogen and progesterone elevate causing your magnesium to plummet. If you combine this natural hormonal occurrence with a busy or stressful lifestyle then you’re in for a big deficit of magnesium.
Your body is amazingly intuitive. It knows what it needs. It’s no coincidence your body craves chocolate.
Why you need it as much as you do?
Magnesium is a mineral vital to overall good health. Your brain activity, every single heartbeat, your skeleton, your muscles as well as 100’s of enzyme-activated biochemical reactions all depend on adequate supplies of magnesium.
Magnesium helps with a variety of functions in the body that can often go awry when there is a deficit.
Depression. As a calming mineral, magnesium will improve your mood, anxiety, and better sleep patterns.
Digestion. Magnesium is essential in assisting the activation of enzymes that control digestion, improving the absorption of proteins, fats, and carbs.
Weight. The hormone insulin needs magnesium to chaperon glucose into every cell in your body where it converts to energy. If this process of glucose migration does not take place properly, glucose remains in the bloodstream and is stored as fat, often around your middle.
Energy. Unrecognised deficiencies in magnesium can also lead to a lack of energy in your cells, which is why you might constantly be feeling tired, even after a good night of sleep.
Chronic illness. Low magnesium is also related to chronic conditions like hypoglycemia, anxiety, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Why you might be deficient.
As we’ve discovered, your hormonal fluctuations will cause a rise in the need for magnesium, but you may be deficient for other reasons.
Magnesium deficiencies and the reasons vary widely from poor digestive malabsorption, excessive consumption of alcohol and caffeine, processed foods (especially refined carbs), and chronic long term stress.
But it doesn’t end there, even if you’ve found a way to control stress, reduce alcohol consumption and improve your diet, the depletion of minerals from the soil where our vegetables grow is causing widespread magnesium deficiencies.
Getting more magnesium in your day.
As much as chocolate is a wonderful way to increase your magnesium levels quickly, we both know most commercially produced chocolate is overly processed and full of sugar.
If you can, opt for sugar-free (sweetened with stevia), dark chocolate varieties or seek out high flavanol cocoa and raw cacao powder which are a fantastic source of magnesium.
Magnesium is also rich in whole foods such as leafy greens, nuts, pumpkin seeds, kelp, wheat germ, almonds, and cashews.
You could also take a magnesium citrate powder supplement. The current RDA for magnesium is 300mg which you could take as an oral tablet or as I like to do, add either magnesium powder or an effervescent dissolving tablet to a litre of water and sip throughout the day.
If your body is craving a particular food, it could be a sign of a food addiction like sugar or it could be a sign you’re missing a valuable nutrient.
In the case of magnesium, if your body needs a burst of magnesium and chocolate is the best source available to you, don’t waste time feeling guilty, just go with the craving.
But, consider increasing your daily intake of magnesium so when those cravings arise (and they will), your body may have a better supply of magnesium to diminish the desire significantly.
Is magnesium a miracle mineral?
With so many functions, magnesium contributes to your body, paying homage to this miraculous mineral and getting your daily dose could go a long way in improving your health and longevity.
In researching this article, I found out so much more about magnesium than I thought I knew. It’s linked to so many illnesses we have come to believe as just the body ageing. Heart disease, stroke, depression, and diabetes. Many lifestyle factors contribute to ill health as we age and magnesium deficiency could be the missing link to better health.
If you’d like to know more, you may like to check out the book by The Magnesium Miracle by Dr Carolyn Dean. An eye-opening read about how important magnesium is to almost every aspect of our health and why most of us are deficient.
And now you.
Do you have a chocolate craving that can’t be tamed? Or have you got to the heart of your chocolate cravings and discovered the miracle of magnesium, why not share your story, you can shoot me an email here or if you liked this article why not share it with your friends.
Oh, and if you’re wondering who Charlotte is and why she pookipsy’d her pants you can find her here.
By the way, I’m not a medical doctor, and before you embark on any oral supplementation you should check with a trusted health professional first.
See you next time,