We’ve all had them…food cravings. Different from hunger these intense feelings are driven by the mind rather than the stomach. That means what we are seeking isn’t necessarily satiety but other things like comfort or certain nutrients. It is okay to give in to cravings sometimes. Other times cravings can derail your diet. Stay on track by understanding what your craving is really trying to tell you, that way you can determine the best (read healthiest) way to tame it.
Here is what you need to know about some common cravings.
Chewing on things like ice or starch is usually a sign of iron deficiency. Untreated, iron deficiency can lead to anemia which can be dangerous if it becomes severe. If you suspect iron deficiency, consult with your healthcare provider to rule out any underlying health complications. You can also pump up your iron intake with things like beans, spinach and dried fruit. Add vitamin C to your diet for better iron absorption. Craving red meat is another sign that you may be experiencing iron deficiency.
Few things are as comforting or satisfying as a nice bit of chocolate. When you feel like you’ve just got to have some what your body is saying it really needs is magnesium. Bananas and avocados are tasty super foods that can meet your need for magnesium. If you choose to go for the chocolate enjoy high quality dark selections that you enjoy mindfully. Research shows that the first few bites are the ones we enjoy most. Start slow and savor the taste and smell to get your fix without wrecking your calorie budget.
That little basket looks harmless but it packs a whooping calorie punch. To make matters worse, bread is like chips in that it is hard to enjoy in moderation. To stop before you get started try reaching for quinoa, sweet potatoes, and whole grains. These and other choices like fish and eggs will give your body what it is really asking for, amino acids and chromium.
Cravings for salty foods usually signal a chloride deficiency. Meet your need with things like onions and celery. It would also be a good idea to monitor your stress levels. Before you reach for that bag of popcorn or chips try some deep breathing, a brisk walk or guided meditation.
When you want to pop a can on a cold one a calcium deficiency may be to blame. Feed the need with leafy greens like kale and mustards; broccoli and turnip greens can fill the bill too.
Everybody has cravings but we don’t have to succumb to them every time. The next time you feel a craving coming on (one that you don’t want to give in to) see if you can wait for at least 15 minutes before you give in. You may just find while you are distracting yourself that the craving passes.