Common food cravings and what they mean.
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Food cravings may happen due to various reasons such as hormonal changes within the body that happens during menstruation or pregnancy, due to metabolic and physiologic imbalances or due to issues with the adrenal function. There are mainly two different kinds of food craving: one which satisfies you by eating any food, for instance, you craved for chips but you had a bowl of soup, you are full and your craving is gone. But, with the second type your craving is more intense and is not satisfied by eating anything. For instance, after eating a big packet of chips or a big tray of brownies, you still want to have more of these foods. If you have this second type of craving, you need to explore and find out what your body is trying to tell you about your health.
Reasons of craving for some of the food:
Sweets: Low sugar levels in the body or deficiency in chromium, sulfur, phosphorus and carbon leads to sweet cravings. But you might also crave for sweets because your body is looking for the way to boost your mood. As our body absorbs refined quality of sugar quickly, it brings the energy back to the body immediately. So, we like to have it. Eat whole fruit or wholemeal snacks because they have complex carbohydrates which will make you satisfied for long time. Eating sugary foods and sugary juices increases the sugar level immediately rather leading to the insulin sensitivity.
However, if you are also having symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, thrush or constipation when you are craving for sweet, it might mean that you have yeast infection called candida. You need to see doctor and get tested.
Salty foods such as fries: After doing exercise or after going through stressful situation, our body gets tired and craves for salty foods because salt makes us thirsty and then we go for a drink. Check your urine, if it is dark, you are surely dehydrated. You need to drink more water for sure. Salty food cravings might also be due to adrenal fatigue which happens when you go through stressful situation. Find out the way to de-stress yourself by using relaxation techniques such as doing meditation or yoga. Sometimes, lower zinc level in your body may also make you crave for salt as lower zinc level means your taste buds is not working well and you want to boost your taste bud by eating salt or salty food.
Ice: craving for ice may suggest low haemoglobin levels in your body. In other words, your body hasn't got enough iron to produce red blood cells, finally leading to anaemia. Ice relieves pain and inflammation caused by anaemia, so you crave for it. I had very bad cravings for ice during pregnancy. I went for blood test which showed that I had low haemoglobin levels. After increasing the intake food containing high levels of iron such as red meat, spinach, iron tablets, my cravings for ice gradually vanished.
Carbohydrates such as breads, cakes and cookies: Low carbohydrate level in your body leads to mood swings. In extreme cases, it might even lead to depression. Carbohydrates raises feel-good hormone called serotonin, a neurotransmitter which helps to relax front part of the brain, so we crave for carbohydrates to boost our mood.
The other reason for such cravings might mean that your thyroid gland is either over-active or under-active. Go for low GI and wholemeal food if you crave for carbohydrates, as it will help you feel satisfied for longer period.
Chocolates and Ice creams: Cravings for chocolate means that your body is longing for magnesium, which is the mineral that gives energy to our body. Before and during menstruation the need for magnesium increases and we might crave for chocolates abnormally.
If your mood is low, you would crave for chocolates as well, because chocolate, like carbohydrate and sugar, also leads to the release of serotonin which, then, increases the level of alkaloids, mood-boosting hormone, in the body. Eating whole grain foods, leafy green veggies, nuts, seeds and legumes can help you out in this case.
Caffeine: Craving for caffeine may mean that your adrenal glands are exhausted and, as a result, you want to have caffeine to increase the energy levels in your body. It might also mean decrease in vitamin c in your body or not having enough amount of iron level in your system. Women loose iron through blood during menstruation. Iron level is also decreased during pregnancy and lactation period. As a result, they feel tired and crave for caffeine. Increase the intake of foods such as apricots, figs or raw broccoli food instead of taking too much caffeine.
Water: If you feel like drinking water all the time and your thirst never seems to go away, you are lacking in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in your system, which causes dry mouth and dry skin. Thirst triggered by such cause will never be satisfied by just drinking water. Eating fish, leafy vegetables or adding chia or flaxseed in your diet can help you out.
Spicy food : It means there is thyroid imbalance or a lack of sulfur in the body and you try to satisfy yourself by eating spicy and hot foods such as curry.
Dairy foods: If you are crazy about dairy products such as milk, cheese or milk chocolate, it is because you might be addicted to the amino acids found in dairy products that works like opiates. Have you heard that if you drink a glass of milk before going to sleep, you are going to have a good sleep? That explains milk working as opium to relax our brain.
Meat: Every time when you sit down for eating, if you feel like having a big steak or juicy piece of meat in your plate, then you might be having a deficiency in vitamin B, carnitine, mineral or iron deficiency.
Remember that if you are craving for some specific kind of food uncontrollably, it is good to see your doctor, as sometimes as simple as blood tests may detect your health issue.
Read more about food cravings and nutrition deficiency:
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