Your all-consuming need for that cinnamon-glazed doughnut may be more than just a craving. It could mean your body is trying to tell you it’s seriously lacking some nutrients.
When a Craving Hits
It’s 3 p.m. at the office and suddenly that afternoon snack attack hits you hard and you find yourself craving potato chips and a Snickers bar. Or maybe you’re at home and you get an intense craving for a doughnut. While you may think this is due to your compulsive food cravings or your “sweet tooth,” it’s actually your body trying to send you a message. It often means your body is not consuming enough of a certain kind of nutrient. Let’s see what those food cravings actually mean.
If you’re craving sweets
This could mean your blood sugar level is fluctuating, which makes you crave sugar even more. It could also mean your body is lacking phosphorus and tryptophan. Rather than reaching for a doughnut, try getting those nutrients from fresh fruit, granola bars, whole wheat or bran muffins, or high fiber foods with complex carbs, such as oatmeal or whole wheat pasta.
If you’re craving chocolate
This could mean you’re body is lacking magnesium, an important part of a healthy immune system. Instead, go for other magnesium-rich foods like dark leafy greens, nuts, fish, or avocados. If you absolutely must have chocolate, go for dark chocolate (75% cacao or higher), which is also high in magnesium.
If you’re craving salty snacks
This could mean you’re over-stressed. When you’re over-stressed, your body produces more cortisol which makes you want high-fat simple carbs. Instead of potato chips, reach for unsalted popcorn, edamame, olives, nuts, seeds, or dried seaweed.
If you’re craving red meat
Can’t stop thinking about red meat? It could mean your body is lacking iron. Try snacking on these other iron-rich foods instead: leafy greens, beans and legumes, black cherries, and turkey.
If you’re craving bread and other carbs
This means your body is lacking nitrogen. Snack on high protein foods like almonds, fish, beans, or turkey.
If you’re craving fried foods
This most likely means your diet is lacking good fat (i.e. unsaturated fat). Yes, (some) fats are good for you! Instead of french fries, go for avocados, nuts, eggs, peanut butter, olive oil, parmesan cheese, or salmon (just to name a few).
It’s also important to remember that dehydration and hunger often get mixed up. Have you ever felt hungry even though you just had lunch less than an hour ago? Many people drink way less water than they think and are chronically dehydrated as a result. In fact, if you’re feeling thirsty, that’s a sign that you’re already dehydrated. Women should consume 2.7 liters of water per day; men should consume 3 liters per day, but that doesn’t mean you have to drink all that water. Your daily water goal can also come from water-rich foods and other drinks, such as watermelon, cucumber, lettuce, celery, tomatoes, oranges, and strawberries. So if you feel hungry, try drinking a nice, tall glass of water and wait thirty minutes. If you’re still feeling hungry, grab a snack.
About Brook Frazier
Brook Frazier is a voracious consumer of all things health and fitness, a social media fiend, and a brand manager at Everybody At Once.