Food Cravings: A Craving, or Lack of Nutrition?

Cravings may be more than just emotional warfare; it may be a sign that your body is lacking some nutritional factor.  Check out these common cravings and what you could be lacking:

Craving Salt

A craving for salt may be a deficiency in calcium in your body.  Salt tricks your body into thinking that you have enough calcium in your body.  It may also mean that other minerals in your body may be in shortage as well.  Potassium and iron deficiency have been associated with salt cravings in animal testing.  You may also be craving salt because of adrenal fatigue- brought on by physical and mental stress.  Foods high in vitamin C and potassium can be of service to you and the balance between potassium and sodium will tame those cravings of salt.

Chocolate Cravings

Chocolate stimulates the release of serotonin, which may bring your mood to an all day high.  This craving for women usually hits around their monthly period, when levels of estrogen drop.  Other chemicals in chocolate simulate the feeling of love or boasts a caffeine effect, making this craving worth the excuse.  To curb these cravings (I’m speaking mostly to the ladies) increase your intake of iron and magnesium.  Reach for black cherries for your iron and nuts, seeds, legumes, and fruits for your magnesium when chocolate cravings hit.

Craving Sweets

Craving sweets may be a solution to your low-energy problem or can make you feel better about yourself.  Be warned that this boost is short-lived and the release is only temporary so stocking up on foods high in chromium, carbon, phosphorus, and even tryptophan.  Foods containing sweet alternatives include green leafy vegetables, fresh and dried fruits, and a little animal protein.

Craving Spicy Food

If you are craving spicy food, your body may be telling you that you are having a hard time cooling down.  Spicy foods tend to satisfy your taste buds faster so you may actually eat less.  Spicy food has a tendency to speed up your metabolism so now you have another reason to indulge.  Don’t indulge too much, because if you enjoy this craving, you may be addicted to the increased heart rate and the rush it gives your blood pressure.

Craving Salty & Sweet

Is salty and sweet a weird combination for you?  It may be your body telling you that you are tired or sluggish.   A better alternative to your chocolate covered pretzels may be whole wheat pita bread and hummus, a pear with low fat cheese, raw vegetable with low-fat cottage cheese, or peanut butter with whole wheat crackers.  The key is to balance the extremes and mix the two as least as possible.

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Treating yourself to a sweet or salty snack (or both) isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Going on an eating binge is.  Here are some ways to curb your cravings if they start to become an issue:

Ways to Curb your Cravings

1) Eat regular meals to help regulate cravings

2)Moderate exercise to suppress your appetite

3)Know your weaknesses- when stress hits, counteract it with exercise instead

4)Increase fiber and complex carbs (whole grain pasta & bread)- they fill you up longer

5)Eat a variety of food from all food groups so your body gets all the nutrients it needs without reaching to alternatives

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