What Your Food Cravings Can Say About Your Health
Food cravings come mainly in 2 types: selective and non-selective. Non-selective (craving for food in general) can simply mean that you’re thirsty or hungry, but selective craving (craving for a specific product) is a complex psychological and chemical mechanism that your body can use to send you messages.
Today, at Bright Side, we’ve compiled a list of selective cravings and what the meaning of those cravings can be, plus we’ve looked into why we hardly crave healthy food, at the end of our article.
If you crave chocolate
Craving for chocolate is often related to a lack of magnesium, which in turn can lead to anxiety and depression. Another study provided evidence that eating between 100 and 400 grams of dark chocolate daily might be a natural way of curing depression, which could explain your craving too. Unfortunately, regular chocolate bars, that are available in supermarkets and other stores, do not count as dark chocolate and contain high doses of sugar.
Instead: Eat almonds or, if you want, you can stick to milk-free chocolate bars containing more than 70% cocoa. If you think you suffer from depression, make an appointment with your doctor.
If you crave donuts, sweets, and treats
There is a clear link between obesity and lack of sleep, not only because it makes weight loss physically difficult, but also because your body craves sugar when you’re tired, as this study shows. Since most of the sugary products available are full of refined sugar, making this a habit can have serious implications for your health.
Instead: Replace sweets, donuts, and other pastries with fruits like cherries, peaches, or watermelon. Dried fruits, like raisins, can also satisfy you.
If you crave cheese
Because cheese is a dopamine bomb, it is difficult to know the difference between a craving and a simple addiction. On the other hand, if you actually have a low-fat diet and you crave cheese, it could be a sign of a vitamin A or D deficiency, which dairy products are rich in.
Instead: Try eating nutritional yeast, which contains the vitamins without all the fat. If you’re going for cheese, then avoid the so-called “plastic cheese” present on most pizzas from commercial chains and try the low fat ones like feta or mozzarella di buffala.
If you crave chips
...and actually all types of fried potatoes, like French fries. This very common craving can mean that you’re missing carbohydrates and healthy fats, especially omega 3. Fries are also a high source of sodium, since they are often very salted and a sodium deficiency can be caused by excessive sweating.
Instead: Replace unhealthy canola oil that is used to fry commercial potatoes with olive oil. Consume higher doses of salmon, nuts, and avocado. If you think you have a sodium deficiency contact your doctor.
If you crave soda
Popular sodas contain a high amount of caffeine, which could explain your craving. Since they often contain the exact amount of caffeine to wake you up without feeling like you’ve gone overboard and had too much caffeine, it often goes unnoticed and you end up becoming addicted one can at a time. A cola craving can also mean that you’re missing calcium and magnesium from your bones. Unfortunately, cola depletes calcium and magnesium, creating a vicious circle.
Instead: Avoid high-doses of caffeine. Sodas contain a lot of sugar too, which can cause diabetes in the long run. If you’re tired, you can eat dark chocolate or drink tea in moderate quantities.
If you crave ice
A compulsive ice craving can mean that you have a severe iron deficiency, according to this study. Crunching ice can lead to a small mental boost, a bit like coffee does, which cures the fatigue caused by the lack of iron. Of course, if you just crunch the occasional ice cube left from your soda, you shouldn’t be concerned.
Instead: Start by consulting your doctor. If you think you suffer from iron deficiency, try eating more beans and spinach.
Bonus: Why don’t we crave fruits and vegetables?
Cravings, unlike regular hunger, are deeply related to psychology. Although, in both cases, dopamine and hormones are released, all cravings share the repetitive need for pleasure. For example, chocolate melting in your mouth or a kick of sugar can trigger dopamine releases in your brain, which gives you immediate pleasure. This high-calorie intake method can be traced back to prehistoric times, when snacks were a survival mechanism in times of need. Fruits and vegetables do not often hyper-stimulate your senses.
Which kinds of food do you crave? What do you replace unhealthy snacks with? Let us know in the comments and share your tips with the audience!