We all get cravings! In fact, when we don’t eat balanced, our body doesn’t get all the nutrients it needs so it starts to crave foods that will satisfy that deficiency, even temporarily. Below are some common examples.
If you crave chocolate, it usually means that your body is deficient in magnesium. If you’re going to eat chocolate, choose organic cocoa and mix it into a healthy smoothie, or eat a small amount of dark chocolate (75% cocoa at least). Obviously, eating chocolate alone is highly unlikely to deal with a magnesium deficiency, so it’s important to eat other foods high in magnesium, such as nuts, seeds, fish, and leafy greens.
If you crave sweets you may be experiencing blood sugar fluctuations. When your blood sugar drops, your body requires more fuel to keep it stable. We often opt for a quick sweet fix. However, refined sweets will provide energy for only a short time and then lead to another drop in blood sugar levels, leaving you wanting more high-sugar foods. It’s a vicious cycle! So instead, opt for a piece of fruit and generally try to add more high-fiber foods like beans and legumes, and complex carbohydrates like whole grains to give you the fuel you need without the blood sugar spikes.
Cravings for salty foods like popcorn or chips often indicate stress hormone fluctuations in the body. When you’re overly stressed, your adrenal glands, which give you energy and help your body cope with stress, release cortisol, which can make you crave high-fat, simple-carb foods that your body can use quickly.
So chill out! Try meditation, breathing exercises, or other stress-management techniques. I personally find a good yoga session a great stress reliever.
Cravings for cheese or pizza often indicate a fatty acid deficiency. Eat foods such as raw walnuts, wild salmon, flax oil and add ground flaxseeds to your diet.
Cravings for red meat usually indicate an iron deficiency. Eat more iron-rich beans and legumes, prunes, figs, and other dried fruits. Vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron, so take vitamin C alongside your iron-rich foods. Alternatively, eat citrus, red peppers, tomatoes, or berries, which are also high in vitamin C.
Reaching for junk foods or heavy foods at the onset of cravings will only satisfy them temporarily. You need to make long-term dietary changes that address deficiencies or imbalances to help eliminate them altogether. That being said, cravings can be triggered by reasons other than nutritional deficiencies.
Most cravings are actually signals from our bodies that we are dehydrated. It is estimated that 80 percent of people are chronically dehydrated. So before you reach for food to satisfy your cravings, quench them with some water. Then wait half an hour. More often than not, they’ll be gone.
Moreover, food cravings are sometimes triggered by certain hormonal changes that take place in the body especially during pregnancy or menstruation, metabolic or physiological changes, or adrenal malfunctioning.
Lastly, psychology also plays a role in triggering food cravings. Feelings of stress, as mentioned above, or even boredom may result in the desire to consume particular foods.
1. Understand the reason behind your food craving so you can deal with it properly
2. Try not give in to emotional eating and use food to beat boredom, stress, dissatisfaction, anger, disappointment, or indifference. It will only make you feel worse (we’ve all been there!)
3. If you do succumb to cravings (you are human after all!), try not to over do it. Satisfy your craving with a small portion and get back on track asap. You’ll be glad you didn’t finish that tub of ice cream! (ehem ehem)