8 Common Food Cravings:
What Your Body is Actually Trying to Tell You
By Dr. Kevin Passero
Everyone has experienced food cravings at some point in their lives. Whether it’s chocolate or pizza, one thing is certain: your body is trying to tell you something.
And that “something” is that you are deficient in a mineral or nutrient of some sort. It is not easy to eat a perfectly balanced and complete diet, especially in today’s world. Many of us actually suffer from subclinical malnutrition due to eating depleted, processed foods and not eating enough whole, nutrient-rich foods.
As a result, we end up craving the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that we lack. Some food cravings can be very specific for certain minerals and can be counteracted with small dietary changes.
Here are a few common cravings and what they mean:
Bread: If you crave bread, your body is trying to tell you that it needs more nitrogen. Nitrogen can be found in protein rich foods such as meat, fish, nuts and legumes. So, instead of reaching for the bread bowl and those extra carbs, increase your protein intake throughout the day to reduce your cravings.
Carbonated Drinks: Can’t get through the day without a soda or some sort of bubbly water? What your body is actually craving is calcium. Try increasing your intake of dark leafy green vegetables such as mustard greens, kale, romaine lettuce, turnip greens and broccoli. Or if you just don’t find these green vegetable to be very appetizing, you can take a calcium supplement instead. Either way, increasing your daily calcium will reduce those soda cravings!
Chocolate: If you are a chocoholic, your body is screaming for more magnesium. While standard milk chocolate has little to no actual magnesium, pure dark chocolate does contain high levels of magnesium. So when you do reach for some chocolate, give your body what it needs and choose dark chocolate (the darker the better!) You can also increase magnesium intake by eating more raw nuts and seeds, avocados and legumes.
Sweets: If you have an active sweet tooth, what your body really wants is the mineral chromium. Try eating more foods rich in chromium such as broccoli, grapes, whole wheat and garlic to counteract that sweet tooth!
Salty Snacks: Constantly craving salt? What your body is actually desperate for is chloride. Good sources of chloride include raw goats’ milk, fish and unrefined sea salt.
Cold Drinks: Do you constantly crave cold drinks? Do you always have to have ice in your water? You may actually be deficient in manganese. Foods such as walnuts, almonds, pecans, pineapple and blueberries all have high manganese content and can help boost your body’s stores.
Chewing Ice: The desire to chew on ice is a sign that your body is low in iron and could possibly mean you are anemic. Try increasing your intake of meat, fish, poultry, black cherries or cooking with cast iron. You also may want to see your doctor and have your iron levels checked.
Coffee: Can’t get through the day without a cup of joe? While this can be nothing more than a simple caffeine craving, it can also mean that your body needs more phosphorus. Try increasing animal protein such as chicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish or eggs, nuts and legumes to boost your phosphorus levels.
So listen to your body, and remember these health-boosting tips the next time you are hit by a craving.