Ever wonder what causes that sudden urge and random desire to eat a bowl of ice cream or munch on some chips or eat a candy bar? It could be that your body is trying to tell you something! In many cases, when we get hungry or have a craving, our body is dehydrated, so when you feel this way, try to make your first resolution be to drink a glass of water and see if the feeling subsides. This isn’t always the case though!
Your body could be telling your brain that its lacking something, like a specific vitamin, nutrient or mineral, and our brain responds by relating that specific thing to something it is use to consuming. Women’s Health Magazine (http://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/food-cravings) describes examples such as sugar cravings.
While our blood sugar is fluctuating with spikes and plateaus, our body realizes these changing levels and sends signals to different parts of your body in order to compensate for the changes. One way that it does this could be causing a craving. Other ways will be described in more details in a future blog about sugar breakdown. When we have low blood sugar, our body will want to take in more sugar, and we could interpret this as a craving for something sugary like ice cream or candy. However, these sort of sugary foods, which have a high glycemic index (http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/understanding-carbohydrates/glycemic-index-and-diabetes.html), can cause even larger spikes in our blood sugar. Instead of settling for these sweets, try a healthier alternative (see link) for a sugary food item that is better for you and causes less spikes in blood-glucose levels! Some unexpected foods that you can eat to end your craving for sweets include whole grain bread, beans, sweet potatoes, carrots and corn!
When your craving red meat your body could be telling you that you’re iron deficient. Instead of cramming in a burger or steak which is high in saturated fats and cholesterol, try some dried fruits, beans and legumes!
Fatty foods can indicate the lack of essential and fatty acids in your body which should be overcome with healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids which can be found in wild-caught salmon, walnuts, flax seeds, cauliflower, tofu and brussels sprouts.
Your cravings can also signify a smaller, more molecular indication. Check out this chart from livefreelivenatural.com for some more suggestions!
**note that food cravings are not signs of malnutrition and are also influenced by other psychological and environmental factors