Cravings, we’ve all had them. Sometimes you just want something salty. Or you can’t stop thinking about eating a big hunk of bread. Do those cravings mean anything? I am a firm believer that our bodies talk to us, they tell us what they need. We have to learn to listen. Now there are differing opinions on this subject. One expert, Karen Ansel, MS, RD, CDN, states “If cravings were an indicator of nutritional deficiency, we’d all crave fruits and vegetables. The fact that we all want high carb, high fat comfort foods, along with the research, is a pretty good indicator that cravings aren’t related to deficiencies.”
While Karen believes that cravings don’t indicate a deficiency there is other research that points to the opposite. So let’s talk about that for a minute. If nothing else it will give us something better to reach for when we feel that chocolate craving start to come.
Let’s say you are craving salty foods. That is usually an indication that your body is lacking minerals and water. Minerals are important to help regulate hormones and support our endocrine system. When the minerals become depleted our bodies tells us they need salty foods. It is important to reach for the sea salt or pink Himalayan salt. And remember to drink plenty of water to help your body absorb all the minerals it needs.
Chocolate…who hasn’t craved chocolate. A common deficiency when craving chocolate is magnesium. A lack of magnesium looks like migraines, headaches, dizziness, fluid retention, and sugar cravings (like chocolate). Reach for the good dark chocolate. The higher the percentage of Cacoa the better. Dark chocolate supplies more magnesium that spinach and oatmeal.
Candy and sweets. Yum, I’ve been there. Turns out our bodies are asking for chromium and phosphorus. Chromium helps regulate blood sugar and phosphorus increases energy levels. When craving candy and sweets go for fruits and avoid the refined sugars in candy.
Craving carbs is a good indication that our serotonin is low. We might feel a little blue, moody, or stressed. Carbs help reestablish a healthy serotonin level. Instead of going for packaged bread or cookies reach for sweet potatoes, spinach, nuts, eggs, or beans. They contain a protein-building amino acid tryptophan which converts in our brains to serotonin.
Another good craving to mention is that a lot of times when we feel hungry we are probably needing water. So reach for a glass of water before reaching for a snack and see if that takes care of your need.