Everyone is familiar with the experience of craving a particular food, but why does this happen? Is it just in our mind? Is our body telling us something?
Here is a list of common food cravings and what they likely mean for you. As well, I suggest solutions for overcoming the cravings (aside from binging on your desired treat).
The most common reason for craving chocolate is that the body is lacking magnesium. Since chocolate is high in tryptophan, some people also seek the serotonin-high that comes after eating chocolate.
Foods rich in magnesium that you can snack on instead include:
If your salt craving isn’t due to an underlying medical condition like Addison’s disease, it may point to the fact that you (and your body) are overly stressed. Stress overloads the adrenal glands, releases cortisol, leads to ill-health and reduces life-expectancy.
Minimizing or eliminating stressors, meditation and positive-thinking, yoga, exercise and physical activity, as well as getting enough early (in bed before 11PM) sleep can all reduce stress levels. Taking a nutrient supplement (especially vitamin C – 500-2000 mg/day and B-complex with 1500 mg B5) can support depleted adrenal glands, as can avoiding caffeine, refined sugar and processed foods.
Ice cravings are usually a sign of anemia (iron deficiency). Ask your healthcare provider to check for anemia and assure that you are getting enough iron in your diet as well as supporting sufficient nutrient absorption with good digestive health. Iron-rich foods include:
*Consuming foods high in vitamin C (tomatoes, citrus, strawberries, kiwi, peppers), along with these iron-rich foods, will increase iron absorption.
Foods rich in good omega-3 fatty acids include:
Is it hot outside or are you feeling hot? If you are running warm, you may crave spicy foods as a way of causing you to perspire and thus cool off. Make sure you are staying cool (get in the shade, create a breeze, undress or dress with breathable, light-colored fabrics). Get plenty of fluids! I find that most people who believe they are properly hydrated, really are not. The average sized person should be getting around 2.5 liters (10.5 cups or 82 oz) of fluids per day. If you eat a mostly fresh, plant-based diet, you will get about 20% of this amount from your diet.
Many other factors can increase this amount, including:
Sweet & Salty Foods or Sugar
Either of these cravings can be a sign that your blood sugar is low. Also, like chocolate, sugar (and all carbohydrates really) stimulate the release of serotonin and other endorphins.