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Whether you are craving salty chips, sweet gummies, or something else, your desire for that specific flavor or food is likely triggered by either a physical or an emotional factor.
Knowing what is causing your craving can empower you to know what to do about them. Ahead, five types of food cravings and what exactly they may be telling you.
If your inner chocoholic is paying you a visit, your body could be in need of a mood boost. Since chocolate consumption is linked to improved feelings of calmness and contentment , that chocolate craving can mean so much more than just needing something sweet.
If you are a female, craving chocolate may also be a sign that you are close to getting your period. Changes in hormones during the premenstrual phase can trigger blood sugars to dip , resulting in certain cravings. A chocolate craving can simply mean you are close to that time of the month.
While chocolate does offer some nutritional benefit — like being a natural source of magnesium — certain varieties can be loaded with sugar. When tackling the chocolate attack, choose a small serving of dark chocolate or add some natural cacao powder to your smoothie instead of downing a king-size candy bar.
According to data published in the journal Obesity Research , larger amounts of carbohydrates consumed is linked to higher levels of serotonin (the happy, feel-good hormone). In other words, your body may need that serotonin boost and knows it will happen after you enjoy that extra-large soft pretzel, loaf of bread or an endless bowl of pasta.
If you find yourself craving carbs more often than normal, ask yourself how you are feeling emotionally. What you may actually be craving is a mood boost, which can be accomplished in a healthy way with a sweaty exercise sesh or a chat with a good friend.
If you have a “salt tooth” instead of a “sugar tooth,” you may be suffering from an iron deficiency . Iron is an important mineral that plays a role in blood cell production and other important bodily functions. Having a deficiency means that you don’t have enough iron in your body, and you can feel tired and weak.
Another cause of salt cravings is good old fashioned dehydration. When you crave salt, your body may be telling you that it needs to restore balance and replenish electrolytes.
The first step to learning whether you have an iron deficiency is to have your health care provider check your levels.
Before you reach for the salt shaker, hydrate yourself first to see if that tames the craving.
Sugar cravings are quite common and can strike at any time of the day. If you find yourself reaching for the candy drawer more frequently, it may mean that you are tired, stressed, or hungry . Essentially, your body is craving sugar for the energy boost.
Before you down that box of gummy snacks, recognize if you skipped breakfast this morning, didn’t sleep well, or are experiencing stress in your life. If you say yes to any of these questions, your sugar craving may be telling you that you need to tackle one (or more) of these factors. Go to bed a bit early, have a healthy snack, or incorporate some yoga into your daily life. Your body will thank you for it.
Whether it is melted on a slice of pizza or enjoyed on top of a cracker, cheese is a commonly craved food for many.
If you are craving that ooey goodness, your body may simply be craving some comfort. Since dishes like mac and cheese and grilled cheese are the ultimate comfort food, you may associate the “warm and fuzzies” with these goodies.
Cheese and comfort go beyond nostalgic reasons. All varieties contain the amino acid tryptophan, which aids in the production of melatonin and serotonin to help us feel more relaxed or sleepy. A study published in 2016 brought to the forefront that lower levels of tryptophan were linked to a depressed state. So, a boost of tryptophan may mean a more relaxed and better rested self!
Cravings can come out of left field. Some are completely random, and others can be a great indicator of bigger things going on in your body.
Understanding why you are craving foods can help you navigate your health more mindfully.
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