We all have them from time to time – those insatiable food cravings for specific foods. You could crave something salty, sweet, or fatty. Or you could crave one specific food like chocolate. Assuming that they are not brought on by emotions, food cravings could be trying to tell you that you have a nutritional deficiency. Here are some of the most common cravings and what to eat to satisfy them.
Food Cravings: Salty Snacks
People that get hit with a salt craving can down a whole bag of chips without even thinking about it. Salt cravings can indicate high levels of stress hormones in the body. Salt cravings could also be an indication that chlorine or iodine are lacking. To ward off stress, try deep breathing or meditation for an instant reduction in stress hormones. And if you still find yourself wanting a salty snack, reach for dried seaweed or soybeans instead of chips.
Food Cravings: Sweet Snacks
A craving for sugar does not happen because you lack sugar in your diet. On the contrary, it’s usually the consumption of too many simple carbohydrates that cause this craving in the first place. The typical diet consists of low-nutrient, highly-processed, starchy food which causes major fluctuations in blood sugar levels. This is why cravings for sweets tend to hit a couple of hours after a high-carbohydrate meal. Blood sugar spikes rapidly then comes crashing down after a short period leaving you with an insatiable craving. When you eat a sweet snack, the cycle begins again. Combat your sweet tooth by eating protein and fiber with every meal. If you still find that you want something sweet, reach for fruits that are high in nutrition but low in natural sugar such as apples, blueberries, or strawberries.
Food Cravings: Chocolate
A craving for chocolate is different from a craving for sweets. Specifically craving chocolate is often an indication that you are running low on magnesium. The fourth most abundant mineral in the human body, magnesium is required for over 300 biochemical processes including many immune system functions. Ironically, the cocoa bean is a source of magnesium, but most chocolate products are not. In order to get beneficial amounts of magnesium from chocolate, you must consume the kind that is at least 70% cocoa. Unfortunately, this bitter but beneficial dark chocolate is not what most chocoholics reach for. Battle your chocolate cravings by loading up on spinach, nuts, seeds, and certain fish like halibut.
Food Cravings: Fatty Foods
Some people crave fatty foods like butter, ice cream, or cheese. This could indicate either a calcium deficiency or an Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency. Combat this sort of craving by eating several servings of leafy greens and salmon per week. In addition, eat a few walnuts on a daily basis.
If food cravings are sabotaging your diet and your health, you are not alone. Most people suffer from some sort of food cravings at some point. Cravings can be brought on by emotional states, but they can also indicate a nutritional deficiency that needs to be addressed.