Eat sweets to get rid of cramps and fatigue? Of course we had to find out the facts.
If you're like many women, you spend the week of your period craving chocolate like crazy and fighting an intense need to devour snacks loaded with sugar. Problem is, dosing up on donuts and ice cream doesn't leave you with much room in your stomach for actual nutrition.
To help you get that necessary sugar fix in a healthier way, a new Seattle–based company called Moon Cycle Bakery has come up with what sounds like a genius idea: baked sweets subscription boxes specifically for your PMS and period weeks. Each monthly box (they run from $15 to $30 and shipping is free) contains treats made with "high-quality, hormone-balancing, clean ingredients," according to Moon Cycle's website.
The bakery claims that their baked sweets—raspberry black bean brownies with primrose, matcha coconut bites, and chocolate cups sweetened with ginger and honey—contain superfood ingredients that help soothe cramps and fight period-related fatigue.
We're loving the idea. But will brownies with added magnesium, iron, and omega 6s actually make a difference when it comes to cramp pain, exhaustion, and other period side effects? To find out, we spoke to Donnica Moore, MD, a Chester, New Jersey–based gynecologist and president of Sapphire Women's Health Group.
According to Dr. Moore, no research proves that superfoods and nutrients baked into desserts can prevent or ease PMS symptoms. "[They claim] their products are chock-full of hormone-balancing ingredients, but we can't really say from a medical perspective if it's effective if no clinical trials exist," she explains. "The ingredients themselves are good things, but I don’t have any medical proof of how much ginger you need or how often you need to eat the dessert to get the benefits."
While Dr. Moore can't vouch for primrose brownies or matcha bites, she can back up taking ibuprofen every six hours; this does help relieve mild PMS and period-related symptoms. But if your cramps, fatigue, or mood swings are severe enough to sideline you from enjoying life one week or so out of every month, "I would rather you see your doctor rather than your baker," she says.
Sadly, ibuprofen doesn't come baked inside brownies. So if a woman finds that a monthly box of Moon Cycle treats decreases the severity of period symptoms while satisfying her chocolate jones, there's no reason to stop eating them. Just keep in mind that thanks to their high sugar levels and all the butter and oil needed to bake them, binging on brownies might set you up for other health issues.