Do you ever wonder why, all of a sudden, your body craves certain foods and would have nothing less? We generally think we are hungry or just want it since you haven’t had it in a while. Well, the thing is most times it’s your body telling you it needs certain nutrients to help the body function better. Below are some common food cravings and what they really mean.
Chocolate is a common craving because it works on our endorphins and makes us feel good, so we give in to it. But here’s what your body is really asking for – Magnesium.
Aside from the effect it has on the chemistry of the brain, chocolate also contains magnesium, a mineral that is vital to several functions of the body, including relaxing blood vessels and providing us with energy. Let’s face it, nothing satisfies a chocolate craving but chocolate, you just have to choose a healthier brand of chocolate. Alternative sources of magnesium if you’ve had too much chocolate recently are nuts and seeds, many types of legumes, and some fruits like bananas and avocados.
I’m guilty of this one and I’m quite sure, so are many more. There are a ton of reasons why you might be craving coffee, but the most likely one is that it contains the addictive chemical – caffeine. What your body really wants is energy, but the problem with getting your energy from a stimulant like caffeine is eventually it wears out, and often leaves you feeling more depleted than before you consumed it. Ergo you need to look to more natural energy sources. Try going with a smoothie or green tea in the morning rather than coffee. Smoothie which uses a natural source of caffeine in the green tea and can help promote weight loss.
Craving fried foods is only natural since they tend to smell so good when you’re cooking them, and taste so good when you’re eating them. What your body really wants is Healthy Fat. Great sources are avocados, which also provide minerals and fiber, as well as nuts like almonds and cashews. If you do fry foods, try frying them up in coconut oil or good quality oil for a rich, buttery taste and even more healthy fat.
Alcohol is one substance many are addicted to. The main problem with alcohol is the direct effect it has on the liver, and the trickle down effect from having a liver that isn’t functioning at its best. What your body is really asking for is minerals. Potassium and calcium are two of these minerals, and you could also be in need of a protein boost. Many mixed drinks will contain juices with Vitamin C so you can still have fun without doing damage to your body. If you’re expecting a big night out, be sure to top up on your vitamins and minerals to minimise the toll it will take on your nutrient levels.
Sometimes a nice effervescent beverage is what you crave, but did you ever stop to wonder why? Aside from the novelty, there could be a deeper meaning behind this craving. Often times what your body really wants is Hydration. So instead of going for that bottle of fizzy drink, take a glass of water. These drinks are usually full of sugar, caffeine, and other chemicals, and can have a dehydrating effect.
Salt is good, since it’s added to our foods to give it taste, but you’ll want to make sure that it comes from the right sources, not from table salt or the industrial-grade salt they use in snacks. This form of salt leads to fluid retention, which can increase your overall body weight as well as your blood pressure. To stay healthy, choose natural sources of sodium that will actually help your body by regulating your fluids, rather than hinder it the way excessive table salt can.
We’ve quickly turned into a fast food nation, and you can’t drive a few miles in most populated areas without passing a fast food restaurant of some sort. What your body really wants is A Balanced, Satisfying Meal. Of course it’s better to make your own meals than to eat fast food, and what you’ll want to focus on if you’re trying to kick the fast food habit is the feeling of satiety after a meal. To do this make sure you are eating balanced meals with a lean protein, a non-starchy carb, and healthy fats.
The combination of a carb-laden crust, melty cheese, and toppings can be hard to pass up but Pizza is ultimately a fatty food, so if you’ve noticed that you have had a hankering for fatty foods as of late it could mean that you are running low on important fatty acids, and your body is trying to make amends. Get fatty acids from healthy foods like salmon, flax seeds, and walnuts. The occasional pizza order will not set you back too far as long as you keep your portions in check.
Nothing at All
If your appetite has gone away and you’re not craving anything at all, you might think that it’s because you’re totally satisfied. But it could be that you’re not getting enough vitamins and minerals, so it’s important to assess why you’re not in the mood for food anymore. One mineral in particular that could be causing your lack of appetite is Zinc. This is an important mineral that affects your taste buds, and is one that your body needs daily. Run a shortage for long and you’ll find it hard to work up a taste for anything, since your ability to taste the food has weakened. Be sure to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes to cover all of your nutritional bases.