1890 333 777 To Make An Appointment or book@spectrumhealth.ie

What Different Food Cravings Really Mean

Whether it’s for the likes of fried chicken and ice cream, or a healthy piece of fruit, we all get hit with sudden food cravings every now and again. It’s easy to put this down to simply being in the mood for a snack you like, but when your body is telling you something, there’s always a reason. Depending on what you crave, your body could be trying to tell you any number of things, and it’s important to listen. Here we’re going to outline some of the main food cravings, and the meanings behind them.

Chocolate

One of the more popular and infamous cravings, a sudden desire for chocolate may indicate that you are low on magnesium. In fact, it almost definitely does. Not only is magnesium one of the less-prevalent minerals in nature, the way our food is processed these days removes almost all of it. Couple this with the fact that it is usually confined to somewhat healthy foods such as nuts, seeds, fish, and vegetables, and it’s easy to see why it’s estimated that over three quarters of us are deficient in it.

Because of the cocoa content, chocolate is quite high in magnesium, so this likely explains your cravings. In addition to incorporating more of the above mentioned foods into your day-to-day diet, switching to dark chocolate is a healthy way to satisfy this craving.

Sweets

There’s a lot more to wanting sweets than having a sweet tooth or getting a sugar rush, and because sweets are far from the healthiest thing around, this is an important craving to understand. While you can of course treat yourself to some sweets, a sudden craving for them most likely means your blood sugar is fluctuating. The link between excessive sweets and conditions such as diabetes is well known, but the damage of filling yourself with sugar when you get such a craving should not be underestimated.

Craving sweets is your body’s way of telling you that it wants more sugar, but sudden spikes in your blood sugar levels will cause a sugar rush and could lead to long-term health problems. To combat this, try switching to fruit instead. Even if you’re looking at a bowl of strawberries and think you’re not in the mood for them, once you start eating, your body will realise that’s exactly what you needed, and you’ll be more satisfied than you expect.

Red Meat

Always a popular choice, a craving for red meat may seem perfectly natural, but it could indicate an iron deficiency, particularly in the case of menstruating women. Fortunately iron is easy to come by in nature, and there are plenty of alternatives to avoid loading yourself up on red meat. Chicken, beans, peas, dried fruit, and dark green, leafy vegetables such as spinach are all healthy alternatives to another steak.

Salt

You may think that eating savoury foods means you’re being healthy by avoiding all those sugary sweets, especially if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t add extra salt onto their food. In reality, the cause behind this craving is one you might never suspect: stress.

The Adrenal Glands are what give us energetic hormones such as adrenaline, and they require salt to work. However, they also produce cortisol, the stress hormone. Cravings for salty foods could indicate that you are under too much stress, which is why the adrenal glands are seeking extra salt. Rather than substituting salty food for something else, the best way to tackle this craving is to try and reduce the amount of stress in your life. Excessive salt takes its toll on your heart, and paired with the stress you may be under, this can be very damaging in the long term.

You might be surprised to learn the meaning behind some of these cravings, but it’s important to remember that your body doesn’t send signals for no reason. While it’s normal to be drawn to some food more than others based on personal taste, continuously craving a certain food is not a good sign. Hopefully this list will help you identify the meaning behind your cravings, but don’t stop at just satisfying one need. Try to make sure you have a varied and balanced diet. It may require a little extra work, but your body will thank you for it.