Craving is a strong desire for a certain kind of food. People crave differently. Some may crave for something sweet, salty, fatty, etc. Scientists believed that cravings can last for 3-5 minutes.
But, cravings also mean that your body is trying to tell you something about your body. It is a natural way for the body to maintain its balance. Food cravings are the results of the signal released from the brain to the body that gives us a strong desire to eat. Cravings can be due to the stress that some people want to eat to comfort themselves. Some hormonal responses also could lead to cravings for food. Nevertheless, here are some of the explanations of what your cravings mean.
1. Cravings for candy or sweetsCandy and sweets are high in sugar. Sugar is the source of energy. If you are craving for sweet treats that could mean that your body needs energy. But, candy won’t benefit your body. Instead, opt for something nutritious like fruits (eg. apple, banana, etc) that also pack in sugar and fibers.
2. Cravings for salty chipsPeople who crave salty food usually will go for high-calorie junk options like chips, crisps or savoury snacks. Cravings for salt can mean that your body lacks electrolytes or water. Therefore, instead of chips, get yourself extra hydration by drinking lots of water. If plain water sounds too boring, add on lime, mint or frozen fruit to make it more exciting.
3. Cravings for pasta or breadCravings for starchy food like pasta or bread can mean that you need a mood booster. High-carb foods can induce the release of the happy hormone, serotonin. Alternatively, you can revive your mood by taking a bath! So, the next time if you’re feeling sluggish, soak yourself with a warm bath and might as well with a treat of scented candles to lift your mood.
4. Cravings for ice creamIf you are craving for ice cream, this could mean that you might need extra healthy fats in your diet. Before you reach out for ice cream in your fridge, why don’t first try to snack on walnuts or almonds which are also packed with healthy fats?
5. Cravings for steak/burgerThis could mean that your body is lacking iron, folic acid or vitamin B12. These nutrients are essential for making red blood cells in your body and maintaining healthy metabolism. Burgers and steak can be high in cholesterol so the other option you can go to such as eat up green vegetables like kale and broccoli that are also rich in iron and other vitamins and minerals.
6. Cravings for chocolateChocolate cravings can mean that your body needs extra magnesium. Chocolate can help release hormone serotonin that induces a happy mood. Apart from being high in sugar and fats, chocolate too has few vitamins and minerals. One of them is magnesium. Magnesium is important for energy production and muscle function. Women with premenstrual symptoms (PMS) also find themselves to cravings for chocolate, which is true due to lower levels of magnesium and haywire mood. Instead of a random chocolate bar, go for a chocolate drink using high-quality cacao powder that is rich in minerals.
How to reduce food cravingsFood cravings can be influenced by our dietary habits, lifestyles and mood. However, uncontrollable cravings may interfere with our healthy diets and risk gaining weight. Therefore, to improve this, there are few things that we can do such as:
Manage the stress levelMany people will eat a lot during stress. Stress also will induce unnecessary food cravings and increase weight gain. Therefore, it is important to manage our stress level, for example by indulging in an exercise or going for a massage.
Keep yourself hydratedSometimes our brain gets confused; are hungry or thirsty? They both produce a similar sensation. Hydration can keep us from eating extra calories. Hence, it is good to drink water first before you claim that you want food. Plus, drinking plenty of water will help us to detox and maintain our well-being.
Get enough sleepNot enough sleep will cause mood deprivation and hormone imbalance. Hence, unnecessary cravings. Therefore, getting enough sleep will improve this.
Maintain a healthy dietA healthy diet will ensure that our body gets enough nutrients to function well. Make sure to take enough protein, vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients so the body system is in balance. When the body is lacking certain nutrients, the brain will signal cravings to compensate for the lack.
If you’d like to avoid cravings, you’ll have to eat better. If you’re wondering how to eat better so you feel energised, have better digestion, avoid cravings and are able to better work towards your goals, check out our new Wellness Starter Kit - a seven day virtual program for anyone wanting to incorporate mindfulness & healthy habits to overhaul their health. Because healthy living should be simple, effective and fun!