Understanding what’s behind your food cravings

Do you ever feel like you literally could not continue your day unless you grabbed some chocolate? (I’ll admit it, I do). I have come to find out that those intense cravings have specific explanations behind them.  In fact, you can counteract cravings with either a lifestyle adjustment or a healthier food choice.  Both options allow you to avoid unnecessary caloric intake.

The typical cravings fall under a number of different categories: sweets, breads, fatty snacks, coffee, alcohol, sodas and carbonated drinks, salty foods, or tobacco.  Most cravings that we experience are an indication that something in life is out of balance.  Pinterest recently had a pin explaining “craving this…means you’re missing this…”  Additionally, Shape Magazine explains how cravings are an indicator of other imbalances.  Some examples:

If you’re craving sweets…

When chocolate or other sugars are on the brain, it could mean that sufficient sleep is missing from your life, but filling that gap with simple sugars can make you crash later.  20 minutes of physical activity can counteract a feeling of fatigue. From a food standpoint, craving sweets could mean that what you really need is chromium (found in broccoli, cheese, grapes), carbon phosphorus (found in fresh fruit, chicken, eggs, legumes), sulfur (found in cranberries, kale, cabbage), tryptophan (found in turkey, sweet potatoes, spinach), or, for chocolate cravings, magnesium (found in raw nuts and seeds, fruits).

If you’re craving caffeine…

Caffeine desire, through coffee or carbonated beverages, can be a sign that you’re actually dehydrated.  Instead of the quick fix of sodas and coffee, the recommended amount of water per day is 8-10 8-ounce glasses.  With regards to foods, craving caffeine and carbonated drinks might mean that you are missing salt (found in sea salt, apple cider vinegar), iron (found in meat, seaweed, black cherries), phosphorus (found in chicken, eggs, legumes, fresh fruit), or calcium (found in broccoli, dairy, eggs) from your diet.

If you’re craving breads or carbohydrates…

Snacking on breads and certain carbohydrates can be a killer to diet and weight loss.  In fact, it is thought that craving breads can mean that you are depriving yourself elsewhere.  The notion of everything in moderation is important here in understanding that no food needs to be complete nonexistent in your diet.  This craving could also mean that you are lacking nitrogen in your diet (found in high protein foods, like fish, meat, nuts, beans).

What other major cravings do you experience regularly?

Photo credit: John Loo

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