Food cravings are a part of life for most people. Whether it’s that bar of chocolate staring you in the face or the smell of french fries as you drive by a fast food restaurant, we are faced with triggers constantly. Whatever you may be craving, this could be more than just wanting something salty or sweet. These cravings might be your body’s way of telling you what it needs and trying to let you know what valuable nutrients you may be missing. It's always a good idea to learn how your body communicates with you and make sure that all your needs are met. We only get one body in our lifetime and we need to ensure we are taking care of it.
We’ve decoded some of your food cravings for you!
Chocolate is a weak spot for most people. It is the ultimate comfort snack and a natural go-to for stressful times. Your chocolate craving can mean more than just a sweet temptation, your body may be telling you that you’re deficient in magnesium. Nutritionists estimate that 80% of people are lacking in dietary magnesium. This may be the reason why chocolate is a popular go-to snack. You can get your magnesium fix from healthy snacks such as nuts, seeds and leafy salads. If you must give in to the chocolate temptation, opt for dark chocolate. It’s lower calories and healthier than milk chocolate.
14 Potato chips
Craving something salty? Don’t reach for that bag of potato chips just yet. What this might mean is that you are stressed and your adrenal glands are working in overdrive. The adrenal glands release cortisol when you are feeling overly stressed, so this can trigger a craving for salty foods like potato chips or french fries. Instead of going for these high fat junk foods, drink a glass of water and take a breather. Perhaps try some relaxation exercises such as meditation, deep breathing or yoga.
13 Creamy carbs
Craving something creamy such as ice cream or maybe macaroni and cheese? If you are jonesing for some carbs, it may mean that you are feeling anxious and need a serotonin boost. Serotonin is the “feel-good” hormone and carbs can trigger the release of dopamine, which is associated with happy feelings. Instead of opting for carbs, which will trigger a chain reaction stress-wise once you realize how many calories you’ve consumed, try doing something relaxing instead. Perhaps book a massage or have a nice warm bath.
People often associate the need for coffee for when they are feeling tired or need to wake up. Although caffeine does help in perking you up, your coffee craving can actually mean that you are dehydrated. When you are dehydrated, you tend to feel a lack of energy, which people can mistake for needing caffeine. Caffeine dehydrates you even further, and while it will perk you up for the short-term, you haven’t fixed the root of the problem. So next time you think you need coffee to wake up, try reaching for some water instead.
11 Steak or burgers
Are you finding yourself craving some red meat? This might not be caused by hunger. Red meat cravings can be indicative of iron deficiency. This is partly the reason why women suffering from PMS or are on their period become slaves to their stomachs. It’s because women are vulnerable to iron deficiencies at this time. Instead of ordering that burger, try going for seafood, beans or dried fruits like raisins or apricots.
10 Fast food
Can’t stop thinking about those french fries or deep fried onion rings? How about some fried chicken for dinner? If you are craving oily and fatty foods, this could mean that your body is lacking in calcium. Instead of going for those fried finger foods, try opting for a salad with broccoli, kale and legumes. Cheese and sesame are also good sources of calcium. These are much healthier options and ensure that you are not lacking the nutrients your body needs.
9 Nuts or crunchy snacks
Although a handful of nuts as a snack can be a nutritious and healthy snack, it can also indicate that you may be feeling stressed, irritable or frustrated. When you are snacking on crunchy things, it may be the act of chewing and crunching that is helping you relieve stress, and its the stress relief that you are craving more than the actual snack. Instead, try ensuring that you have an outlet to release endorphins such as exercise. Go for a run or pick up a challenging sport. You not only get rid of a craving, you’re making sure you are staying fit and healthy too!
There’s nothing wrong with having a drink here and there to take the edge off, but if you find your body is craving it often then it might be time to analyze what your body is really telling you. Are you feeling stressed out? You might need some dopamine enhancing foods such as bananas, sunflower seeds or blueberries. Are you feeling tired and defeated? Your body might actually be looking for a source of energy so having some complex carbs, such as whole grain bread, fresh vegetables and fruits, might curb your craving.
Do you ever find yourself longing for that Italian restaurant to get your pasta and garlic bread fix? Your body might be telling you that you have high insulin levels or low blood sugar. Make sure you are not skipping meals or snacks. Make sure that you are consuming enough calories to fuel your exercise or activities. Try having a fruit smoothie or a glass of fresh pressed juice. It is an excellent and healthy source for sugar and valuable nutrients.
Are you finding yourself craving for a fizzy drink? You might want to reconsider reaching for that can of soda. This craving could indicate a mineral or magnesium deficiency. Our bodies need minerals to support our functions, but don’t produce these minerals themselves. The tangy flavour of soda comes from phosphoric acid used by manufacturers to enhance flavours, however this can lead to reduced storage of minerals. Your body might be looking for magnesium when you are craving cool drinks or sodas. Replenish your body by snacking on walnuts, almonds, pineapples or blueberries.
Smoothies are great and healthy alternatives to meals, and an awesome way to get your dose of nutrients. But do you often find yourself opting for a smoothie instead of solid foods? Do you prefer to drink your calories than to eat it? This could be a sign that you are dehydrated, and your body is telling you to drink more. Your body needs 8-10 glasses of water a day, so before opting for that fruit smoothie, make sure that you are giving your body enough water.
Feel like snacking on cheese? Or you just can’t seem to resist that warm and comforting macaroni and cheese dish? Hold up, this might be indicative of a fatty acid deficiency. You need some omega-3 in your body, and you can satisfy this body craving by eating salmon or raw walnuts. Flaxseed is also a good source of good fatty acids, so consider supplementing your meals with some flaxseed oil or ground flaxseeds. Fatty acids also help reduce inflammation and lower risk of diseases such as heart disease or cancer, so it’s important to ensure that your body is not lacking in fatty acids.
3 PMS Cravings
Are you a slave to your stomach during that time of month? It could be caused by your body’s serotonin levels, the feel-good chemical in your brain, is lower during your period. That’s why you often find yourself craving sugars and carbohydrate-loaded snacks like potato chips. Curb your cravings during this time of the month by opting for serotonin rich foods like walnuts, pineapples, bananas, kiwis, and tomatoes.
2 General cravings
A lot of the time when we are craving something, we aren’t hungry at all. Most of the time, we are simply dehydrated and we misinterpret the signals that our body is sending us as hunger or a craving for a specific food. It is estimated that 80% of people are chronically dehydrated. So next time you have a craving, reach for a big glass of water first and see if that’s what your body needs. Most of the time, water is all it takes.
1 Not craving anything at all.
If you don’t have any appetite at all, this may indicate that your body is lacking a few different nutrients it needs. You might need more Vitamin B which you can get from nuts, seeds, tuna, chicken, or legumes. You could also be experiencing a manganese deficiency and you can replenish your body by snacking on walnuts, almonds or pecans. It could also be a chloride deficiency, which you can get from goat milk or unrefined sea salt.