Have you ever wanted a burger so badly that you didn’t catch a single word during that meeting just salivating over the thought of it? Or craved chocolate so desperately that you drove to the nearest convenience store at 2 in the morning? If so, then you are familiar with food cravings. They are the body’s way of telling us that we have certain nutrient deficiencies. This list explains the causes and meanings of craving 6 common foods, and how you can fix them.
6. Salty foods
If you crave chips, fries or other salty foods, you may have a chloride deficiency. A chloride deficiency may also result in headaches and fatigue. You can easily restore your chloride levels by eating salt-laden food such as kelp, olives and Himalayan or kosher salt. Celery, salted nuts, and certain cheeses also have a high content of salt that can help curb your cravings. A diet rich in protein, vegetables, fruits and whole grains will also naturally keep cravings for greasy, high-fat foods at bay.
The lust for sweets may mean that you’re deficient in chromium and/or magnesium. It may also be caused by low sugar levels in the blood, or due to being dehydrated. Instead of sweets, reach for a piece of fruit and a glass of water. Fruit will give you a boost of energy without the dreaded crash since your body knows how to process these sugars. Having a sandwich made with whole grain bread and fresh vegetables will also help to restore the nutrients in your system.
This may be the most common food craving of them all. Chocolate is high in magnesium. Cravings for it often indicate that your body is deficient in magnesium, which is a common deficiency. It may also indicate a lack of chromium, B-vitamins or essential fatty acids. Dark chocolate is rich in magnesium and low in sugar, so it is the best option when satiating your cravings for chocolate. Furthermore, small amounts of dark chocolate also work wonders when lowering levels of stress and high blood pressure. People also crave chocolates when feeling upset or sad because chocolate is also related to emotional needs and is a mood booster (chocolate is metabolized to serotonin, the mood-boosting hormone). Instead of reaching for the chocolate next time you’re feeling down; exercise, listen to some upbeat music or watch a cute cat video on YouTube.
This can mean insulin resistance, fatigue or a chromium deficiency. Instead of 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 regulate your blood sugar and eliminate these cravings, they are lower calorie and will help you with weight loss or maintenance. Sweet potatoes, corn, and oatmeal also contain fiber that will make you feel “full” faster, allowing you to eat smaller portions.
If you crave tea or coffee, it could be a sign that your body has an iron or sulfur deficiency. A lack of iron can make us tired and lethargic, as there are fewer red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body. Instead of depending on caffeine for a pick-me-up, eat red meat, beans, fresh fruit, chickpeas and fortified cereals. If you already get enough iron, those cravings could be caffeine addiction so cut it out for two weeks.
A sudden and intense desire for cheeseburgers could be an indication that your body needs iron and essential fatty acids. To satisfy your body’s need for iron, try dark leafy greens, such as spinach or Swiss chard. These vegetables may be a more healthful option if your diet is high in fat and carbohydrates. An occasional burger is OK, but try incorporating small amounts of red meat into your regular diet so you don’t go overboard. Consider adding small amounts of lean beef into a vegetable soup or a sprinkle of lean ground beef into a bean chili. Walnuts and flaxseed are rich in iron, protein and fatty acids. Furthermore, you can substitute legumes, tofu, and beans for red meat as a healthy alternative.