Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Food Cravings

Photo By: Maria Quiroga


Often cravings are our body’s way of telling us that something is missing in our diet. Have you ever wanted salty potato chips and then after you devoured a bag you still weren’t satisfied? Have you craved a cupcake, given in and then found yourself even more hungry an hour later? Sometimes giving into your cravings only makes things worse because you aren’t satisfying the real reason behind your cravings.

Craving salty foods like chips or pretzels? Usually if you crave salty foods you could be deficient in sodium, have inadequate mineral levels or maybe you just aren’t drinking enough water throughout the day.

Do you crave chocolate all of the time? This craving could mean you may have a B vitamin or magnesium deficiency. It is also worth noting that chocolate is addictive because it stimulates dopamine and contains Phenylethalmine, which stimulates endorphins to be produced. No wonder so many people crave chocolate!

What about if you crave sweets and carbohydrates like cake or cookies? This craving is often the result of not enough nutrients and essential fatty acids in your diet. Another reason is the “high” people get from eating sugary treats. Sugar’s sweetness releases endorphins that offer us this “high” and relaxes us. Ask yourself if you are seeking cake for comfort.

Although cravings usually exist because of some sort of deficiency as I have mentioned, sometimes we get cravings because we aren’t getting enough sleep or are trying to fill an emotional void.

So, what can you do to tame your cravings? Try supplementing or adjusting your diet if you aren’t getting enough nutrients with essential minerals and essential fatty acids. Some people swear that including flax seed oil in their daily diet cuts their cravings tremendously after only a few days. Make sure to balance your blood sugar by eating nutritious meals that include protein throughout the day. Avoid eating close to bedtime and get a restful 7-8 hours sleep every night. If you believe your cravings are emotional, try to get to the root of the problem/stress. Sometimes going for a quick walk or exercising will curb the craving as well. Experiment and see what works for you.

Society sometimes labels cravings as a weakness, but I disagree. I see cravings as an opportunity to ask yourself  “why?”. Next time you crave something, ask yourself why and take a look at your diet and state of mind. Try to deconstruct your craving and see what you come up with.

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