Everyone has food cravings. Some people are constantly craving chocolate or sweets. Others have a burning desire to eat fast food, such as pizza, hot dogs, or fries. It is estimated that 70 percent of men and 100 percent of young women had food cravings over the past 12 months. Are cravings real or just an excuse to indulge in your favourite treats? Let’s find out the truth about food cravings!
Research indicates that certain areas of the brain – the insula, hippocampus, and caudate – are responsible for food cravings. Most people are craving sugar when they are stressed. Food cravings can also occur when your diet lacks particular nutrients such as vitamin B12 or calcium. The desire to consume certain foods is often related to specific hunger.
Studies suggest that chocolate and other high carb foods increase the production of endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are also known as “feel good” chemicals. When you eat candies, your pituitary gland releases these compounds, which lifts your mood. As a result, your brain will associate candies with happiness. If you satisfy your cravings and eat what you want, you’ll get trapped in a vicious circle that can lead to weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease.
Food cravings are characterized by an intense desire for chocolate, chips, ice cream, fruit and more. Most people crave sweet, spicy, or salty foods. Pregnant women can experience unusual cravings for non-food items like mud, unripe fruit, and charcoal. This usually indicates nutritional deficiencies. In general, women’s cravings are influenced by hormones.
As you see, there are several possible causes of food cravings. Scientists believe that certain cravings indicate a lack of specific vitamins and minerals. For example, if you crave chocolate, you actually need magnesium. This mineral can be found in fruits, legumes, seeds, and raw nuts. Sugar cravings may indicate low levels of chromium, tryptophan, sulfur, carbon, or phosphorus. This means you should eat more broccoli, cheese, chicken, turkey, liver, eggs, and green leafy vegetables.
What if you’re craving bread or cereals? This could indicate a nitrogen deficiency. Make sure you eat high protein foods such as meat, beans, nuts, and fish. Those who crave fatty foods may have low calcium levels in their body. If this is your case, eat more dairy products, legumes, kale, and seeds.
A balanced diet that includes all food groups can help reduce cravings. This explains why most people have cravings when trying to lose weight. If you constantly feel the need to eat certain foods, keep them out of your sight. Fill your fridge with fresh fruits and veggies, lean meat, fish, and legumes. Don’t keep chocolate, sweets, or junk food at home.
If you crave sugar, eat a small fruit or a piece of dark chocolate. Cravings for salty foods usually occur when you’re stressed. Exercise more and get plenty of rest to overcome this problem. When you crave steak, burgers, or red meat, eat foods rich in iron. Your cravings will eventually go away. Listen to your body and try to figure out what it really needs.