No, you’re not imagining it. You really do have chocolate cravings when it’s that time of the month.

Researchers from the National Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology studied the eating habits, weight, and hormone levels of 30 female participants ages 18 to 45. During the follicular phase—the period between the end of your cycle and beginning of ovulation—the women consumed around 1,688 calories. During the periovulatory phase (when ovulation starts), however, their daily calorie intake rose to 2,175 calories. In the luteal phase, which is the period right after ovulation, the women’s daily calorie intake was 2,164.

During the luteal phase, it was revealed that while estrogen and progesterone increase, seratonin decreases. Seratonin is a feel-good hormone which helps maintain a balanced mood, and as it is usually released when you eat sweets, you crave for chocolate to make up fo any deficiencies. Moreover, researchers also noted that women may actually be expending more energy during the luteal phase, which explains the spike in calorie intake.

So the next time you get your period, don't worry about craving for chocolates. It's just your body's way of balancing your hormones out. However, make sure to eat only real chocolate and avoid sweets that contain refined sugars such as fructose, sucrose, and glucose, as these make you more prone to storing fat around your belly.

This story originally appeared on Cosmo.ph.

*Minor edits have been made by FemaleNetwork.com editors.

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