A craving is defined as a very strong desire for something. While many of us have craved more things like success, wealth, or the perfect partner, there’s one craving that nearly every woman has had – cravings for particular foods. Come on, you know the feeling. You just ate, you’re not even hungry, yet you absolutely cannot stop thinking about that one particular food item and how much you want it. You’re positively fantasizing about that ice cream sundae or chocolate bar or big, juicy burger. It’s all you can think about.
Now, women will often beat themselves up about cravings, feeling like they’re just being gluttonous or overindulgent if they want to be chowing down on some French fries or chocolate. First of all, life is for living – if you want that donut and your diet is otherwise fairly healthy, just go ahead and enjoy it. However, what some women might not know is that cravings can be your body trying to communicate. It’s an incredibly intelligent thing, the human body, and when it’s missing certain nutrients it will often send out a craving for foods that would fulfill its needs. So, next time you’re craving one of the foods on this list, stop and ask – are your dietary deficiencies maybe dictating your cravings?
15 Fried Foods
While you might be craving anything fried after a long period of healthy eating, there might be a more particular reason for it. Have you been cutting fat out of your diet wherever possible, opting for extra lean cuts of meat and skim milk? Well, fat is actually a vital part of any healthy diet, so your craving for fried food isn’t a sign that you’re going to fail your diet – it’s a sign that your body needs some healthy foods. Instead of eating French fries until you feel ill, opt for something like avocados or nuts. They’ll have those healthy fats you’re looking for while allowing you to stay on track with your healthy eating.
14 Salty Snacks
Sometimes, we just crave something salty and we’re not sure what. Popcorn, pretzels, chips… some type of snack that isn’t sweet. Well, when your body is craving ultra salty junk food, it might be a sign that you need a bit more sodium. If you’re eating a lot of processed foods that are high in sodium as part of your regular diet, your craving for chips might not be due to a deficiency, but if your diet is otherwise healthy, it might be a signal to introduce a bit more salt. Instead of chowing down on any item high in sodium, opt to sprinkle a bit of healthy sea salt onto your next meal. Unlike table salt and the salts used in most of those junk food snacks, sea salt will help you regulate rather than retain fluid – and no woman likes to look bloated thanks to fluid retention.
13 Red Meat
Ever have a craving for a big, juicy steak? Well, it might very well indicate that you have an iron deficiency, something that is fairly common for women. If all your protein is coming from white meats like chicken breast and lean ground turkey, try to introduce more iron into your diet. Sure, it can come from red meat, but there are a lot of healthier options. Beans, dried fruit like figs, seaweed, and spinach are all foods rich in iron that will help replenish your body and have you feeling better and stronger than ever.
12 Burned Food
This one might seem a little strange to you – it’s a craving regarding how your food is cooked, or more accurately, overcooked. If you’re putting that toast in for a second round because it just isn’t crispy enough, or keeping your dinner in the oven for far longer than the recipe states to try to get a little bit of char, you might have a carbon deficiency. Instead of burning everything to a crisp, try to incorporate more fresh fruits into your diet. It’ll help address your craving, and as an added bonus, it’s much easier to take a few bites out of an apple than it is to wait an hour for something to crisp up to your level of desire.
At some point in our lives, every single one of us has crunched on a few ice cubes from a cold, icy beverage. It’s normal to crave anything cold and icy if it’s ridiculously hot outside. However, if you’re absolutely craving ice on a normal day, something that really has no nutritional value and doesn’t exactly satisfy your hunger, then you might have an iron deficiency. The solution? Pretty much the same as if you’re craving a juicy steak – you’ll want to indulge in some foods like beans, legumes, prunes, figs and dried fruit, seaweed, and spinach. Leave the ice cubes for your drink – it can’t be good for your teeth to crunch on them
If your head is filled with visions of chicken breasts, juicy steaks, pork tenderloins and fish fillets, your craving isn’t exactly masquerading – you’re probably just craving straight up protein. In order to remedy the deficiency that’s causing your body to cry out for meat, you need to consume… well, protein. It’s as simple as that. However, while you might want to chow down on the greasiest fried chicken or burger you can find, it might be better for your health if you quench this particular craving with some lean protein. Same beneficial nutrients, less added fats!
9 Food, Plain and Simple
Have you ever felt like you’re just craving food, even though it might seem completely illogical? That you crave more food, despite being totally full and not actually wanting to eat more? Well, your body isn’t going berserk – it’s just crying out for nutrition. If you’re ignoring any major food groups, like completely cutting out any carbs, or forgetting to include any proteins in your carb-filled pasta feasts, your body will start to question why it’s not getting everything it needs. The craving for more food is your body’s way of asking for more balanced meals – that means including all the major macronutrient groups like carbs, proteins, and fats. The solution is simple – make sure your major meals include at least one element of each macronutrient group for a satisfying, balanced meal.
We all crave carbs sometimes – who wouldn’t? They’re delicious! However, if you’re craving specifically bread or toast, that might indicate a more specific deficiency. Namely, nitrogen. It might sound counterintuitive to eat more high protein foods like fish, meat, nuts and beans when you’re craving carb-laden toast, but trust us – that’s what your body is asking for. So, before you chow down on the bread basket at a meal, perhaps determine whether you really need endless carbs, or if your body is looking for something else. Just make sure you’re not craving toast that’s burned to a crisp – that’s an entirely different deficiency.
7 Soda/Carbonated Drinks
Soda is basically packaged to be the perfect addictive treat – it contains a heavy hit of both sugar and (in the case of many sodas) caffeine, two ingredients that can easily trigger you to want more. However, if you’re craving just soda and carbonated drinks in general, even something like club soda (which has no sugar or caffeine), then you might actually be calcium deficient. The solution? Sure, you could chug some milk, but if you were regularly drinking milk, you probably wouldn’t be deficient in calcium to begin with. Safe to assume you just don’t care for dairy – you can get the required nutrients in food items like kale, mustard and turnip greens.
6 PMS Cravings
Pretty much every woman has dealt with PMS cravings, that time of the month when literally all you want is a chocolate bar the size of your head, a gallon of ice cream, and all the fried foods your body can possibly handle. Sure, we know it’s better to feed our bodies with healthy fuel, but when you’re already feeling moody and not the greatest, it can be easy to reach for comfort foods. However, all those PMSing chocolate cravings might indicate a deficiency in zinc. How do you remedy it? Well, there are several plant-based foods that are high in zinc like spinach, cashews, cocoa powder and mushrooms. However, if you’re truly deficient, your best bet is options like oysters and liver.
Cheese is a staple for so many delicious comfort foods, so it’s a no brainer that most people will crave it at some point. However, if all you can think about is eating grated mozzarella by the handful, your desperation for cheese might be indicative of two deficiencies. Stop to think about what exactly characterizes most cheeses – calcium, and a high fat content. So what do you think you’re deficient in? Well, calcium and essential fatty acids – your body is pretty smart at craving the foods that will satisfy what it needs. If you need more essential fatty acids in your diet, opt for foods that are high in Omega 3’s – that’s going to be things like flax oil, chia seeds, and walnuts. If it’s calcium you need, foods like kale, mustard and turnip greens are the key.
4 Acidic Foods
If the thought of anything sweet is making you shudder and all you want is so much acid your entire body will pucker, there’s a specific deficiency you might have – magnesium. Sure, your instinct when you’re craving acid might be to eat meals doused in vinegar, but that likely won’t satisfy your craving, and you’ll just keep wanting more acid. The real solution is magnesium rich foods like raw cacao, whole grains, nuts, seeds, greens and fruit. There are many foods with a high magnesium content, so you fussy eaters are in luck. Not to mention, your dentist will probably thank you for staying away from things with a high acid content.
3 Coffee or Black Tea
Often, we crave coffee or black tea because we’re looking for a quick boost, a jolt of caffeine to wake us up in the morning or get us through the day. However, if you’re constantly jonesing for a big cup of coffee or a steaming mug of black tea, you might be deficient in things like sulphur, iron, salt, or phosphorous. I know – a bit overwhelming. If it’s sulphur you need, opt for cruciferous vegetables like kale and cabbage, and foods like cranberries, asparagus, and horseradish. For iron, it’s the typical iron-packed beans, seaweed, spinach and dried fruit. For salt, you’ll want to incorporate more sea salt. For phosphorous, opt for pumpkin seeds, lentils and brazil nuts.
Sugar cravings are one of the most prevalent in society, and one of the most difficult to kick. Sugar seems to be a main ingredient in countless delicious foods that we love, and even though we’re aware of how nutritionally lacking a lot of high sugar foods can be, we still crave them nonetheless. So what do you do when the sugar craving hits? Well, it actually just means your body is craving glucose. If you want to kick the craving while keeping up with your healthy diet, substitute those sugar-packed candies for nature’s candy, fruit. They’ll give you that hit of glucose that your body is needing, but will also pack in some fructose, nutrients, and antioxidants.
Chocolate is one of the most frequent cravings, especially for women (not to be stereotypical – but I mean, who wouldn’t crave delicious, creamy chocolate?!). Now, we’re not saying to avoid chocolate altogether – eating a square or two a day can be a great way of satisfying the urge and still maintaining a healthy diet. However, if your craving seems insatiable, then your body might actually be crying out for magnesium. If that’s the case, skip the milk chocolate and opt for good dark chocolate – it contains that magnesium with a little bit less sugar than its milky counterpart. If you’re cutting out chocolate altogether (in which case – why???), you can get magnesium from sources like legumes, bananas, and avocados.