Have you ever wondered why you crave some foods more than others? Why you sometimes want chips and sometimes chocolate? We have all experienced food cravings, finding ourselves in a situation that we would literally take everything out of the cupboard just to find something sweet to eat.
While this situation is quite normal for many, it most often signals that there is some kind of imbalance in the body and that our body craves what it most needs.
There is a big difference in being hungry or craving particular type of food. Our stomach controls our hunger whereas food cravings are controlled by our brain. The reason for it is that our stomach is concentrated on our survival needs and the brain communicates through cravings, letting us know if there is some kind of deficiency in vitamins or minerals in the body. Cravings appear even if we are not hungry. We should observe what type of food we particularly want on daily basis in order to determine if we are missing something in our diet.
We crave food that we normally eat. When we eat food that’s loaded with sugar, serotonin gets released in the brain – which is our feel good hormone. We can get addicted to the good feeling that comes from eating sweet foods i.e. chocolate or sodas. The more sugar we eat the more dependent we become.
However, while we can get addicted to sugar, our craving for sweet food may signal that our body has some nutrient deficiency. In particular, if we crave chocolate often, that may signal a magnesium deficiency. While eating dark chocolate may have some health benefits due to its antioxidant content, you may also satisfy your chocolate craving with some nuts and seeds, or even some fruit. Try it next time and see what happens. When you crave a piece of chocolate next time, try having piece of fruit instead and see if that will satisfy your craving.
The point being is that you want to listen to your body, recognize what kind food or drink you are craving and try substituting it with a healthier alternative. There’s helpful list here .
Keep in mind that if you start eating healthy,let’s say spinach, your body will start craving spinach now that you eat it more. The reason for that it is that we are programming our body to expect spinach daily. We crave what we eat.
Often, women crave red meat around the time of their menstrual cycle. Our brain signals to us that we need more iron. When we are tired, our body craves carbs and sweets, which provide quick energy.
Our cravings may be better controlled if we eat well balanced diet that consist of whole foods rich in protein and good fats for long lasting energy. Do not skip meals and eat when your body signals you that you are hungry.
If you constantly crave certain type of food, that may be worth looked into by a doctor or naturopath. And keep in mind to get enough sleep, try to live a stress free life and if you must, give yourself a break and have that piece of chocolate or small bag of chips.