If we crave a specific food (and not just when we are pregnant) there could be many different reasons for this. In fact, most food cravings are not even about food.
It is said by many doctors and dieticians that cravings stem from a complex combination of 3 factors – emotions, hormones and those that are biochemical.
One of the main reasons is an emotional reaction to something that has upset us. We all know about comfort food and how stuffing our mouths or filling our tummies can be very comforting. In some people, the worry and stress that is causing the craving uses up so much energy that they don't even put on any weight. Others of course will start to pile on the pounds.
Hormones are another reason and born out by the fact that very strong food cravings often occur in that week prior to menstration or during pregnancy. By way of contrast, men are not all that into cravings and they are definitely less affected by hormone imbalance than women.
The typical American diet can be so lacking in nutrition that many constantly crave more food when in fact they are craving nutrition, and even water because such a diet often means they are seriously dehydrated.
Low blood sugar and a blood sugar imbalance are the biochemical factors. A desire for something sweet is often caused by lack of food as a result of going too long between meals or snacks or because of following a very low calorie diet. If this is you and you must have something sweet, don't go rushing for candies, cakes or cookies. The refined sugar and other harmful ingredients in these is not going to help but actually make the cravings worse.
Much safer to enjoy some fruit such as delicious blueberries, a wedge of watermelon or slices of apple. You have so much choice with fruit – all those different colors and tastes.
Certain cravings do have specific meaning
- A desire for decadent chocolate could mean you have a magnesium deficiency.
- Attacking the cheese board can be an indication of a lack of fatty acids.Longing for some good honest red meat usually means there could be an iron deficiency.
- A craving for salty foods can be another emotional sign such as being stressed out.
A daily supplement with all the minerals and vitamins could help but even better is a well balanced and healthy diet. The Mediterranean Diet
is a good starting point. If you are working on your stress levels, eating all the good things and drinking plenty of filtered tap water, so you get all your nutrients and you are hydrated, then the cravings will disappear.
Tips to help you reduce your food cravings
- Eat at regular intervals throughout the day.
- Don't reduce your calorie intake below a safe level.
- Choose low GI-carbs for optimum blood sugar control by reducing or preferably eliminating your intake of refined white floor, heavily processed or high sugar foods and increasing or replacing with high fiber foods and whole grains.
- Remember that too much added sugar or salt can make cravings worse.
- Reduce your intake of drinks that act as stimulants.
Don't take chances with your health and well being by succumbing to the cravings and grabbing something unsuitable. You could just stay like a hamster on an exercise wheel and never get anywhere.
Listen to your body and give it the right remedies.