Our bodies are really amazing pieces of machinery. Wouldn’t you agree? Not only does our heart beat, our organs process everything, and we automatically breathe without having to even think about it, our bodies can alert us to certain vitamin and nutrient deficiencies. Sometimes food cravings can be psychological or environmental (like stress) but many times there can be a physical reason that can be easily remedied.
What?!? You didn’t know that your body can tell you what nutrients you need more of? It’s true! But many of us ignore the signals that our body is sending us. I don’t think we intentionally do this; I think it’s more likely because we just don’t understand that certain food cravings can be the result of vitamin or nutrient deficiencies. The good news is that it’s easy enough to correct many of these cravings.
Let’s take a look at some common food cravings from above and explain them a little more:
Sweets: Craving sweets could mean that you are deficient in chromium and magnesium. But sweets cause blood sugar imbalances that put you on a roller coaster of craving more sweets when you experience the sugar crash. Sugar cravings can also be the result of being dehydrated. Instead of sweets, reach for a piece of fruit and a glass of water. Fruit will give you a boost of sweet energy without the dreaded crash since your body knows how to process these sugars.
Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates have gotten a bad reputation over the years but it is important to note the difference and that not all carbs are bad. It’s the white flour based carbs that you need to stay away from. These bad carbs also lead to blood sugar spikes. Carbohydrate cravings can indicate insulin resistance, fatigue or a chromium deficiency. Rather than reaching for crackers or chips, try chromium and magnesium rich foods such as bananas, apples, apricots, spinach, avocado, broccoli, celery and carrots. Not only will these foods help regular your blood sugar and eliminate these cravings, they are lower calorie and will help you with weight loss or maintenance.
Salt: Salt cravings can indicate low levels of electrolytes or dehydration. Adding foods such as nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help curb these cravings.
Chocolate: Chocolate may be one of the most common food cravings. These cravings could indicate a deficiency is magnesium, chromium, B-vitamins or essential fatty acids. But this is not to say that chocolate is bad for you (I would NEVER say that!). Chocolate is high in magnesium so reaching for dark chocolate will help satisfy those cravings. Chocolate is also related to emotional needs, such as feeling good (chocolate is metabolized to serotonin, the mood boosting hormone). Doing an activity that makes you feel good can help, so talk to a friend or watch baby or pet videos on YouTube to make you smile.
What kind of food cravings do you have?