Every one of us has experienced cravings. When it hits us, it hits us pretty hard and makes it near impossible to resist the urge of reaching for that bar of chocolate or a piece of cake.
Where do these cravings come from?
Why do we sometimes have a hankering for sweets?
Are cravings another sensation of hunger?
The human body will do what is necessary to survive and when your brain reads hormonal changes and lack of nutrients in your blood, it will ask you to feed the body, hence the feeling of hunger, but what are cravings? Are they the same thing?
Cravings are simply about your body communicating with you, it is your body’s way of letting you know that you may be deficient in micronutrients or minerals, however it is also related to hormonal balances and emotion.
When it comes to cravings, you will only crave what you eat regularly. Your body will absorb all the benefits from the food you eat and make a note of which food has what, and then when the body lacks those benefits, it will ask for it through creating the feeling of cravings.
So lets look at what your body may actually need when you are cravings certain foods:
Craving processed flours is an indication of insulin resistance, hypoglycaemia (blood sugar fluctuations), chromium deficiency or fatigue. Similar to chocolate, carbohydrates are also linked to the feel good hormone, serotonin. So when you crave carbohydrates, it is a way of your body asking for a cheer up.
Craving salty foods like crisps, salted nuts or salted popcorn is a way of your body telling you that it is stressed and low in levels of electrolytes. Furthermore, dehydration can also be a reason for salt cravings,
Craving meat is down to a lack of iron, zinc and vitamin B12. Women tend to crave meat more during their cycles and during pregnancy due to iron deficiencies.
Craving sugar simply indicates blood sugar imbalance and mineral deficiencies such as chromium and magnesium. Dehydration is also a trigger for sugar cravings. Eating sugary foods also links to the feel good hormone, serotonin.
Craving chocolate means a lack of magnesium, chromium, B-vitamins and/or essential fatty acids. Chocolate is high in magnesium, however make sure you go for dark chocolate with 80% and above of cocoa solids. Women, in particular, often crave chocolate. This is mainly related to their menstrual cycle and the loss of magnesium. Furthermore, chocolate is also metabolised to serotonin, a mood-boosting hormone so cravings can also be related to an emotional need.
Craving dairy such as cheese or milk is often down to a fatty acid deficiency. However, be careful with this, as craving dairy can also mean that your body has too much fatty acid.
Fried and Oily Food
Craving fried and oily foods indicate essential fatty acid deficiency.
Craving carbonated drinks is down to calcium deficiency.
Your body is smart. It knows what to do when it is lacking something. So next time you have a craving try to ensure you go for foods that are natural and whole, i.e. when you crave something sugary, reach for a piece of fruit rather than that snicker bar. Listen to your body and provide it with what it needs, but don’t think that you have to go for junk food to do that.
Coffee or Tea
Craving coffee or tea is mainly down to a sulphur, iron or phosphorous deficiency.