This Is Exactly What Your Cravings Are Trying To Tell You
Salty, sweet and everything in between, we all crave certain foods from time to time. Once they hit it can be almost impossible to ignore them, even if you've spent your week planning out balanced and healthy meals for each day. There's been a lot of research into food cravings and it turns out that there is more to it than just a nutritional deficiency. A lot of the reasons we crave certain foods comes down to our brain—whether it's a food that you find instinctively comforting or that reminds you of a memory you hold dear. We've decoded what some of the most common food cravings mean and how to curb them.
There's a couple of reasons that you might not be able to stop thinking about a salty pack of chips. The first one is that you're dehydrated, whether that's from sweating from your daily workout or simply not meeting your body's necessary intake of water. Thirst can be mistaken for hunger, so reach for a glass of water to see if your cravings subside. The other reason for salty cravings is that your diet is already high in salt. Take a look at what you usually eat in a day to see assess whether you're craving salt out of habit.
Just like a salty temptation, sweet food cravings can mean multiple things. To begin with, your blood sugar levels could be imbalanced and causing you to reach for a chocolate treat. This can happen if you're not giving your body enough calories, protein and healthy fats. Sugar has also been known to have an effect on our moods, meaning that when we're feeling down we are more likely to turn to a sweet treat to release feel-good serotonin in the brain. If you've subconsciously trained your mind to see sweets as a reward, try to cook yourself a nutritious snack instead to retrain your habitual brain.
When we're talking about starchy foods, we're referring to white bread, rice and pasta to name a few. All of these foods contain simple carbohydrates which your body processes the same way as sugary treats. If you're constantly craving a big bowl of creamy fettuccine then your brain is actually signalling to you that something's not quite right. Try to decipher whether your food temptations could be because you're feeling particularly tired or stressed lately and whether you're instinctively treating yourself via a carb-filled meal.
If you're anything like us, your morning coffee is very important to you. Before I can even think about breakfast, I have to take a few sips from my mug first. If you're craving the productivity-boosting substance throughout the day it might be a sign that you're not getting enough rest at night and you're relying too much on your latte to keep you going throughout the day. As any regular coffee drinker knows, caffeine can become very addictive, so if you're used to having multiple cups in a day and simply stop, you'll no doubt feel the cravings hit. Fight then by staying hydrated, boosting your iron levels with foods like tofu and broccoli and try to change your morning routine to include a glass of water instead.
Now this is the type of craving we would like more often to boost our intake of fruits and veggies. It's definitely not as common as its salty and sugary counterparts, but there are instances when the body can signal to you that it's looking for something nutritious. Unlike other cravings, you should listen to what your brain is telling you as it's most likely bringing a nutritional deficiency to your attention. If you're having healthy food cravings a lot then it's a sign that you're regularly eating these types of foods and your brain and body is expecting them.