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Whether you’re a longtime Hormonology fan or new to this cycle-focused science, chances are you know that you’re more prone to cravings for sweet, salty, fatty and carb-rich foods in Week 3 of your cycle–the week right after ovulation.

This is in large part a side effect of progesterone, which pushes you to increase your calorie consumption in case you got pregnant during ovulation. And, it may be partly due to dipping estrogen in the first half of your Week 3, which pushes you toward mood-lifting foods to counter irritation and sadness caused by this plunging hormone.

Well, now a new study in the European Journal of Nutrition reveals you tend to crave yet another type of food during your Week 3–protein, especially animal protein (except for you vegans and vegetarians, of course).

Surprisingly, the study authors didn’t speculate why you get more of an urge to consume more protein-rich foods during this phase of your cycle. Normally, researchers at least throw out one or two theories to tease us with.

But, if I’m allowed to armchair quarterback here for a moment, I’d like to point out that research shows a higher intake of zinc (found in protein-rich foods, such as beans, beef, chicken, seafood and yogurt) helps reduce your risk of developing premenstrual symptoms, including moodiness, bloating and fatigue. So, it may be that this is yet one more way your body pushes you toward foods that contain a particular nutrient to help keep you balanced and happy.

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[Photo: viZZZual.com]