What do Food Cravings really mean?

When I first meet a client, I go through their health history and get a general overview of whats going on. One of the questions I ask is do you crave anything? And so far, I haven’t come across anyone that has said NO!

It is so common to have food cravings but what do they actually mean? Do you ask yourself that or do you succumb to the craving and just eat whatever??

I think it may be helpful to take a look into the most common cravings. This is simply a guide, it isn’t set in stone – cravings can also be your bodies way of indicating something entirely different – we are all unique beings experiencing unique lives.

Lets look firstly at Chocolate. Chocolate is high in magnesium so there may be a lack of magnesium. It is best to reach for the 100% raw cocoa to use in smoothies or as a snack or eat the darkest chocolate you can find. Besides healthy cocoa or dark chocolate though, try reaching out to a loved one, a friend or a pet or doing an activity that makes you feel good about yourself. Chocolate is also metabolised into seratonin, a mood boosting hormone that can be related to an emotional need so craving it may be a sign of a lack of emotional support somewhere.

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Do you ever crave Carbohydrates?  Do you reach for crackers, biscuits, white bread, crisps, pasta, bagels, croissants…this may indicate a chromium deficiency,  insulin resistance, hypoglycaemia, or fatigue. Try introducing more chromium and magnesium rich fruits and vegetables into your diet. These include bananas, apples, apricots, spinach, beetroot, avocado, broccoli, celery, chard, carrot and parsnip. More of these and less of the refined white carbs may be just what you need.

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Sugar – This is a huge subject and something that many people my difficulty to keep it under control. It may indicate blood sugar imbalances and mineral deficiencies such as chromium and magnesium. Giving in and eating biscuits, cakes, lollies, soft drinks or other refined sweets will only make the problem worse and cause a blood sugar roller coaster that leads to more cravings. Try instead choosing a piece of fruit when you’re craving sweets or having a glass of water first. Prepare yourself with some healthy snacks like nut balls sweetened with dates, raisins or goji berries as an alternative quick fix.

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Salt –  B-vitamin rich foods are important during periods of stress and often when we crave salt, we are lacking in B vitamins. Try consuming nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables but like sugar, dehydration can also be a cause of salt craving so start with a big glass of water and see how you feel.

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Fried Foods – The smell of fried food sends massive pleasure signals to the brain, which is why it sometimes seems that you can’t go too long between doses of fried, fatty foods.

But what does your body really want? Healthy fats. If you’ve been on a mission to cut fat out of your diet, it’s time to bring back the healthy fat that’s actually helping you feel full and lose excess fat from your body. Great sources are avocados, which also provide minerals and fiber, as well as nuts like almonds and cashews. If you do fry foods, try frying them in coconut oil for a rich taste and a healthier choice.

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Cheese – Are you screaming out for cheese? Cheese pops up as a craving when you’re trying to lose weight, and is often the thing that will let most people crumble at the knees and give in to. What your body really wants though is calories.  Cheese is high in calories, and even a one ounce serving gives you about 100 calories. Cheese cravings could also be due to a deficiency in fatty acids. Try eating raw walnuts as often as you can, wild salmon if you are a fish eater, flax oil as a salad dressing and add ground flaxseeds to your food where possible.

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