Do you find yourself saying things like “I have a salt craving right now” or “I have an irritable sweet craving”, and do you then dig into the unhealthy recesses of your kitchen for a quick fix?
Well truth is that most of us have specific food cravings from time to time and this is really our body’s way of communicating with us, telling us what it needs.
Chips, burgers, takeout craving: This is a salt craving. It could be a signal that your body is losing salt, and that it needs replenishment.
However, eating junk food means that you are overdosing on the salt and needless calories that are empty of nutritional merit.
What you should do about this is fill up instead on things like sushi, the seaweed and fish, which are healthy and sodium rich.
Bread, crisps craving: This probably means that your body needs protein, filling up on carbs means that you will be hungry soon after. So it is important that you have good quality protein that fills you for longer since it takes longer to digest.
Lean cuts of meat, chicken, fish and yes, eggs are a great source of protein, and should ideally constitute 50% of a given meal.
Chocolate craving: This may mean that your body needs magnesium. This can however be better obtained from sources other than chocolate which is high in sugar so that after the initial energy spike, it will leave you feeling lethargic. Seeds, nuts, wholegrain bread, etc are better sources of this nutrient.
Caffeine Craving: This may mean that the body needs iron. This may be particularly true for women during their monthly period when there is blood loss. However, skip the coffee for your caffeine, instead eat some dried figs, dried apricots and some raw broccoli.
So really when you consider it, food cravings are not just bodily greed or a need to satiate the senses. There could well be more to it; and there is enough research on the subject that we give this theory some credence: that cravings are the body’s way of telling us that something is missing or depleted and that something needs to be replenished within the body.
It is always a good idea to listen to what your body is telling you; just don’t grab the first convenient food item that you can lay your hands on. Instead find healthy alternatives such as those suggested above.