Most of you have been there: It’s 4:30 pm and out of nowhere it hits you; a craving for a bag of chips or candy bar. A craving is a signal from your body telling you that something is deficient or needed. To suppress that cravings you can do one of two things: give into it or find an alternative distraction.
Here’s a look at six common food cravings and what they could really mean.
- YOUR CRAVING FOR POTATO CHIPS / SALTY PACKET FOODS
- What it could mean: YOU MAY NEED SODIUM
Sodium is an essential electrolyte for many vital functions in the body – like helping your heart beat. The body craves salt because, in the wild,it’s pretty rare to find foraged sources of sodium. When you find salt, “the body is wired to light up and signal that you should eat more because it’s so vital to survival. Which is why you end up eating an extra serving of salted chips. However, too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure and other heart issues and so the daily recommended allowance is 2300 milligrams
- The Fix : Avoid turning to processed foods which are loaded with excess sodium and have very fewer nutrients. Instead, you can get sodium from healthy whole foods like beets and leafy greens like spinach
2. YOU ARE CRAVING ICECREAM
- What it could mean: YOU MAY BE LOW IN SLEEP
When we are sleep deprived and dont get quality sleep, our hormones can stimulate hunger. The ones that regulate suppression of hunger and fullness and satiety can be off balance. You probably might have heard of amino acid Tryptophan. It produces melatonin and serotonin to help u feel relaxed and sleepy. It is found in high fat dairy products. That’s why most of you feel sleepy after a lavish dinner.
- The Fix: Instead of having that late-night cup of ice-cream, try to get into bed an hour earlier. Or opt for an afternoon nap that lasts 20-30 minutes. If at all you need to eat, binge on nuts like pistachio or almonds or have warm milk with turmeric.
3) YOU ARE CRAVING PEANUT BUTTER
- What it could mean: YOU MAY BE LOW ON FATS
Healthy fats are essential for survival because they are reserve fuel for brain. If your diet is low in another macro nutrient like carbs, you may be more drawn towards fats for sustenance and energy
It’s a myth that eating fat makes you fat. In fact certain types of fat are rich in omega 3 fatty acids which help protect the health of the brain and nervous system
- The Fix: Fat helps you feel full, but because it provides more calories than carbs and proteins you need to be mindful of how much u eat. For example, a healthy portion is fist full of nuts. Aim to consume about 25-30% of your total calories from healthy fats.
4) YOU ARE CRAVING BAKED GOODS
- What it could mean: YOU ARE FEELING ANXIOUS OR STRESSED
Sweets like muffins and cookies can provide a temporary calming feeling because because the sugar triggers a quick hit of dopamine the feel good hormone. However, processed foods like packaged sweets can lead to blood sugar crashes and feeling sluggish shortly after consuming them.
- The Fix: With proper planning and preparation, including sweets in your diet in moderation can serve both a comforting and nutritious purpose. However, there are smart ways to satisfy your sweet tooth that wont result in negative impacts of sugar consumption like chronic inflammation. Rather than reaching for processed options, opt for naturally sweet foods, including apples, berries, carrot and beet. These foods include gut-friendly fiber, which helps the sugar get absorbed into your blood stream slowly, avoiding the vicious cycle of sugar high and crash that leaves you craving more sugar
If you find yourself craving sweets, it’s a great opportunity to look deeper and figure out if your are feeling stressed or anxious. Try combating stress eating with positive coping mechanisms like going for a walk, taking a hot bath or calling a friend. Another helpful tool is prioritizing quality sleep, since changes in circadian rhythm can cause you to reach for sugar foods.
5) YOU ARE CRAVING SPICY FOOD
- What it could mean: YOU NEED VARIETY
Spicy food cravings are a sign that you may to spice up your life to prevent food burnout. It’s easy for us to get complacent in our everyday routine where we eat the same things everyday.
- The Fix: Take a look at your daily lifestyle and see if you are always eating the same foods. Ask yourself how you can diversify your diet, whether it’s searching for a new recipe or experimenting with creating your own spice blends.
6) YOU ARE ANY AND ALL FOODS
- What it could mean: YOU ARE DEHYDRATED
Your hunger and thirst sensations come from the same part of the brain and sometimes the signals can feel similar or get misinterpreted. This doesn’t mean every time you feel hungry, you should drink water, but its important to be aware that those hunger pangs might actually be the first signs of dehydration
- The Fix: To fight your body’s hunger and dehydration signal confusion, its best to make sure you are always staying hydrated. The recommended daily water intake is 3.7 lit for adult men and 2.7 for adult women. Drink water thorough out the day so when hunger strikes you wont have to worry if those feelings are truly hunger or dehydration. You may track your water intake using the app or bottle that shows the measures.
Team Vitazia will be happy to help you get the right diet plan based on the cravings you get. Contact us now!