During your premenstrual week, do you experience intense cravings for chocolate candy, salty snacks or a combination of chocolatey and salty treats? Recent research may reveal why: Two separate studies—one from the University of Iowa, the other from the University of California, San Diego—show that chocolate and salt (eaten alone or together) activate pleasure mechanisms in the brain that chase away the blues, a common problem during the week before your period due to plunging estrogen. So, your body may be pushing you to consume these sweet and salty foods as a way to counter this hormone-fueled dip and help lift good feelings.
Trying to watch your waistline and want to avoid snack attacks? Research shows that exercising, doing your favorite hobbies and spending time with uplifting friends also boost mood-lifting brain chemicals while also distracting you when cravings hit, making you less likely to indulge.