Food cravings, we’ve all had them.
That extreme impulse to down a specific food is happening for a reason.
Once you understand that reason, you can better manage it.
That’s especially true if you want to honor a commitment to healthy living.
Why are you craving sugary foods and sweets?
Sugar cravings are a response to emotional stress. The sweetness triggers the release of endorphins, the feel-good hormones.
According to research, it is very common to crave cookies, cakes, and sugar-coated foods when you are angry, sad, and stressed. Another study by Yale University found out that women are more vulnerable to cravings.
So, to overcome a sugar craving, find another way to relieve mental and emotional stress. Sleep, go for a hike, exercise, or run; all these activities reduce the levels of stress hormones in your body.
That said, sugar cravings also hint at low energy levels in your body. However, instead of candy, go for healthier choices such as strawberries and apples.
Why are you craving chocolate?
Chocolate is one of the most popular food cravings. You could be trying to self-medicate for emotional stress – since chocolate is sugary. In fact, according to this survey involving 13,000 adults, 57% of people who have eaten dark chocolate in the past 24 hours are less likely to report signs of depression.
However, a chocolate craving could be hinting at a magnesium deficiency, according to Jillian Tuchman, RD, and nutritionist. Chocolate is rich in magnesium. However, there are other sources more abundant in magnesium, such as nuts.
Why you are craving potato chips
Fatty junk food cravings mean you are low on healthy fats, according to the clinical dietitian at Baylor Scott & White Hospital, Taylor Leahy.
The human body does not manufacture healthy fats and fatty acids, such as omega-3. We have to get them from the diet. So, instead of French fries, go for fatty fish and other sources of healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, and avocado.
Dehydration causes salt cravings.
A salty bag of chips offers much-needed relief after an intense workout. But why the salt? If it’s a need to refuel, you don’t need the extra salt.
Salt craving is a sign of dehydration or electrolyte imbalance. Instead of excess salt, you can feel much better by rehydrating with water or a can of sports drink.
Craving ice? You could be anemic.
Some people chew ice for fun. However, if you are continually craving cold stuff, it could be a sign of anemia.
A study published in the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners suggested that health care workers should ask about ice cravings as a sign of iron deficiency.
A better solution, of course, is to consume iron-rich foods such as dark green vegetables and red meat.