You roll out of bed, ready to start your day, and the first thing that happens to you upon waking is your stomach starts grumbling. Long periods of slumber cause you to start craving nourishment, which is entirely reasonable.
However, even when your stomach is full, you will still have food cravings throughout the day. What are your cravings trying to tell you? Is it that your stomach is running empty, or is it that your body is trying to sabotage your diet?
While it’s reasonable to assume that you need food, so you have cravings, this isn’t always the case. Your body tries to communicate with you in various ways. You need nutritionally-balanced foods to help you fuel your system.
When it comes to food cravings, it can be a broad spectrum. You must learn how to read your body’s strong indications and know what it wants you to do. In some instances, it’s trying to tell you that there is an underlying disease or problem that needs to be corrected.
The Facts Behind Your Body’s Misguided Food Cravings
While you may reach for a candy bar, pudding, or potato chips when you feel hungry, your body may need a piece of fruit or a boost from some leafy greens. It’s not always easy to read these indicators when they come, so here are ten of the most common things your body craves and how it comes across to you.
There’s nothing better than an ice-cold soda with extra fizz. It seems to give you a sugar boost as well as some caffeine. While you may be craving a cold soft drink, it may be that your body is in desperate need of calcium.
Isn’t it strange that craving a soda is based on a need for calcium? Your body must have ample amounts of calcium to thrive. For instance, you need it to help your bones be strong and healthy. Additionally, calcium is essential to make sure you don’t develop blood clots.
It’s also responsible for giving your nerves the fuel they need to send messages to the brain. To combat this bodily need is going to take more than a cola. It would help if you tried some oranges, spinach, kale, okra, broccoli, or almonds. Once you get your calcium levels back to normal, the cravings should subside.
Can you think of anything more delicious than a slice of hot bread from the oven? The tantalizing aroma wafting through your kitchen is enough to make you weak at the knees. However, you can crave carbs and bread for other reasons than its gooey texture.
Food cravings for bread is a sign that your body is running low on nitrogen. If you find yourself with a desire for salty treats that won’t seem to go away, you likely need some additional nitrogen in your body. What is nitrogen anyway? Well, it’s an essential part of your DNA.
See, your body uses amino acids as a foundation for the formation of your hair, skin, and muscles, as well as other bodily tissues. These acids have nitrogen in them. Rather than reaching for a hunk of fresh bread, you might want to try eating oatmeal, lentils, peas, beans, almonds, fish, spinach, or lean meat.
3. Salty Treats
Are you having food cravings for popcorn like you get from the movie theater? Are your desires for salty things so overpowering that you keep chips all around you? There’s nothing better than a salty treat to counteract sweets.
Many companies play off the salty-sweet combination when they make things like sea salt caramels and chocolate covered potato chips. While you think that a bag of tortilla chips might solve your problem, it’s probably because your body needs chloride that you’re having these cravings.
Each cell in your body has fluid inside it, and chloride is responsible for keeping those fluid levels in check. It does many other things, like keeping your blood volume at an acceptable level and regulating your blood pressure. You can give your body the nutrient it craves by eating some lettuce, seaweed, olives, fish, lemons, tomatoes, or celery.
4. Sugary Treats
Okay, so if you’re a junk food junkie, you may have a hard time deciphering your body’s needs from its cravings, but there is a way to figure it out. In a world where brownies, cookies, ice cream, pastries, and a million other sweet treats abound, it’s hard to push those cravings away.
However, what if your body was trying to tell you that it needed more chromium? Chromium is a metal that your body needs as it’s part of the metabolic process. It helps you regulate your glucose levels, transport blood sugar to the cells, and is essential for energy.
When your body metabolizes protein, fat, and carbs, it uses this metal to help it along. When you feel like you will die unless you get some chocolate, try some cabbage, kale, grapes, broccoli, or cranberries. No, it won’t taste as good as a candy bar, but it could be just what your body needs to make you feel better.
5. Acidic Foods
Do you ever find yourself having food cravings for acidic things like tomatoes, soda, chocolate, or wine? It could be that your body’s hankering for acid means you need some magnesium.
Your body must have magnesium for nerve function. It helps you to sleep, helps you lose weight, and is essential for your muscles. When you get those cravings for something acidic, try eating nuts, legumes, or a fresh piece of citrus fruit.
Are you a person that chews on ice all day long? Maybe you have dry mouth or you just like the crunching sensation. Ice is not a food, but when you’re craving, it or things like soap is part of a condition called Pica.
Pica is a rare craving for things because the body lacks iron. Low iron levels can make you feel dizzy, fatigued, and all-around sick. Iron is part of hemoglobin, which is the thing that helps your red blood cells.
When you’re low on iron, you won’t have healthy red blood cells, which can affect these vital cells’ production. Try eating some spinach, liver, kale, beans, tofu, potatoes, cashews, whole grain bread.
Cheese is the quintessential comfort food. Did you know that cheese can improve your mood because it contains a compound called I-tryptophan? If you’re craving a pizza or a dish of mac n cheese, it could be that your body is trying to tell you that your mood is off and you’re under stress.
While it won’t hurt you to eat a little bit of cheese, your body is trying to tell you that something is going on under the surface. Did you know that people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are more likely to crave cheese than others?
Even those with concentration and memory issues want this gooey food. All this craving maybe is your body’s way of telling you that it needs more I-tryptophan.
Are your cravings for water overwhelming at times? Do you feel like you drink and are still thirsty? Your body is either dehydrated or your sugar levels are out of whack.
You’re hungry, but your body could be trying to communicate with you that your glucose is at an abnormal level or dehydrated and need to chug. Don’t ignore these subtle hints as the underlying cause can be severe.
9. French Fries
Did you know that one of the biggest reported cravings are French fries? It’s the greasy sensation that seems to send people into orbit until they can get their hands on some. If you find that you’re craving French fries and potato chips often, it can be an indication that you’re low on the healthy fats in your body.
One of the most concerning is Omega-3s. Your body can’t make this fat, so it relies on getting it from the foods you eat. When you feel these cravings for grease, try eating some salmon, avocados, nuts, or cooking with olive oil.
10. Red Meat
Do you crave juicy steaks and meat so much that you can almost taste it? Your body is probably low on iron. Remember, your body needs iron to make healthy red blood cells, and with a lack of it, you’re going to feel wiped out and sick.
Most people don’t give any thought to their food cravings. If they want chocolate or potato chips, then they eat them to satisfy that urge. However, most of the foods you crave are not nutritionally-balanced, causing you to gain weight.
If you find that you’re continually having food cravings that are out of control, then you need to see if you have an underlying medical condition that is fueling these urges.