Food cravings can make it hard to concentrate — or sometimes, really get anything done.
They can also quickly derail your “healthy eating” plans. They might further lead you on a wild goose chase where you’re basically pulling out everything from your pantry, just in case there might be what you crave in the back of the cupboard.
Yeah, we’ve all been there.
That craving tugs at you. And all you want to do is basically shut it up by giving it whatever it needs to do so. So, we’re here to help you out, while making mindful and good-for-your-body choices.
Whether your craving is sweet food or salty chips, we’re going to get to the bottom of it in this article. Is it chips your body actually needs? What does it mean when all you want is to devour a giant chocolate bar in one go? Let’s take a look.
This is confusing. Because yes, your body is urging you to eat something that it might need. But at the same time, it might be urging you to eat a food that doesn’t really support your overall health.
A prime example: Salty cravings. Your body might need salt (at the same time, this can indicate other imbalances!), but chips aren’t always the best food source to grab for this. The truth is there isn’t much nutritional value in a bag of chips (unfortunately).
Yet, a whopping 90% of people experience food cravings. In other words, you aren’t alone.
Studies further show that females are more likely to crave high-fatty and sweet foods. Meanwhile, men are more likely to crave salty and savory food items.
So, what gives? Why are food cravings happening to you?
A diet with low nutrients is more likely to cause food cravings than not. This often means you aren’t getting the nutrients your body needs so that it can perform at its best.
Yet, before we dive into exactly what your craving might mean nutrient-wise, it's important to keep in mind that there are various reasons you might be experiencing cravings.
If these cravings are common and really urgent-feeling, you may want to consult with your doctor. Various other factors can play a role here, including:
Inevitably, it isn’t all about nutritional deficiencies. In fact, your cravings could involve a combination of all or some of the above. This is why it’s so important to get to know your body and tune into it. That way, you can truly listen to it and determine what it actually needs.
Related Article: 8 Natural Remedies in the Kitchen
Chelsea Clinton, the only daughter of former U.S. president Bill Clinton, has said, “I’m a big believer in listening to my body’s cravings.”
And when it comes to your common food craving meanings, listening to your body isn’t awful advice. Our body is an intelligent machine that is very capable of telling us what it needs when it needs it.
If you feel tired, you likely need rest (or potentially to learn to balance your blood sugar! That’s for a whole other article). If you’re unable to sleep, maybe you’re stressed and need to find ways to relax. You get the picture.
But how can you pinpoint if your food craving is due to a nutritional deficiency? Here are a few nutrient deficiency symptoms to help you figure it out:
If you think you have a nutrient deficiency, it’s probably a good idea to discuss your options with your doctor.
With that in mind, here are a few common food cravings and what they mean.
Magnesium is literally involved in hundreds of chemical reactions in the body. It’s involved in energy production, protein creation, repairing of DNA, muscle contractions, nerve regulation, and more!
Instead of opting for chocolate (although dark chocolate does have magnesium and a piece here or there is actually good for you!), try eating more pumpkin seeds, greens, almonds, cashews, and brazil nuts.
Yes, this one is ultra-confusing. It can also mean you might just need to eat more (actually!) since when your body craves something sweet this can also indicate it has a higher energy need than what you’re offering it.
Some great foods to consume that include these nutrients include grapes, broccoli, fruit, chicken, eggs, beef, dairy, fatty fish, cranberries, cabbage, horseradish, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, raisins, and spinach. Try incorporating more of these and see if it quenches your food cravings!
Most likely, it’s not salt (although it can be!). This is simply because most North Americans actually over consume salt on a daily basis.
If you’re looking for more foods with chloride and silicon though, eat more fatty fish, goat milk, nuts, seeds, and cashews.
Nitrogen is actually ultra-important for protein production, as well as the creation of various hormones. To gain more of this nutrient through your diet, eat meat, salmon, beans, nuts, and chia seeds.
Many of us stop drinking milk when we become adults. Yet, this also means that many adults are actually deficient in calcium. And calcium is necessary for bone growth and repair, as well as muscular contractions.
Luckily, there are many options here, including milk, cheese, and leafy greens.
At the end of the day, cravings aren’t there just to annoy you.
It really is your body trying to tell you something is wrong — or it’s going to be if it doesn’t get what it needs. You can’t build a house without the proper resources, and your body can’t repair and function without them either.
You can even opt to do a bit of your own experimenting here, such as adding a few different foods back into your diet and seeing if it makes a difference when it comes to your food cravings.
And remember, you can’t measure what you don’t track. Make sure you keep a food diary and notes on how it goes so you can get to the bottom of it once and for all.
August 10, 2022
August 9, 2022