Have you ever wondered if your food cravings are trying to tell you something? Sometimes a craving hits so strongly (“I absolutely need chocolate right now”) it makes me wonder if my body is really trying to tell me it needs something. Chocolate deficiency.. unlikely. But theory exists that cravings suggest nutrient or mineral deficiencies that the body wants to correct. The body’s pretty smart. Makes sense to me.
Food cravings don’t always dictate what we eat – our bodies are naturally driven to eat for survival. And when we really pay attention to what our bodies are saying, we can tell the difference between simple hunger or desire and a true food craving. By definition, food cravings are intense and specific and are mind-driven as opposed to stomach-driven. Research shows that specific neurotransmitters are released in the brain in response to certain foods which affect mood, but the research on cravings (and how they can be so intense and specific) is still unclear.
Clinically and personally I find that suggesting healthy substitutions to common cravings works so often that it’s hard to ignore the theory that craving = deficiency. Why not give it a go and let me know if it works for you?
Here’s a list of common food cravings, nutrients or minerals that may be required, and a good healthy source of said nutrients.
|What You Crave||What You’re Missing||Eat This Instead|
|Chocolate||Magnesium||Raw nuts and seeds, legumes, fruits|
|Phosphorus||Chicken, fish, eggs|
|Sulfur||Cranberries, horseradish, cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cabbage)|
|Tryptophan||Cheese, raisins, sweet potatoes|
|Bread||Nitrogen||Fish, nuts, beans|
|Fatty foods||Calcium||Mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale|
|Coffee or tea||Phosphorus||Chicken, fish, eggs|
|Sulfur||Egg yolks, garlic, onion, cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cabbage)|
|Salt||Sea salt, apple cider vinegar|
|Iron||Meat, fish, seaweed, black cherries|
|Alcohol, recreational drugs||Protein||Meat, seafood, nuts|
|Calcium||Mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale|
|Glutamine||Glutamine powder, raw cabbage juice|
|Potassium||Black olives, seaweed, bitter greens|
|Chewing ice||Iron||Meat, fish, seaweed, black cherries, greens|
|Burned foods||Carbon||Fresh fruits|
|Soda or carbonated drinks||Calcium||Mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale|
|Salty foods||Chloride||Fish, unrefined sea salt|
|Acidic foods||Magnesium||Raw nuts and seeds, legumes, fruits|
|Cool drinks||Manganese||Walnuts, almonds, pecans, pineapple, blueberries|
|PMS cravings||Zinc||Red meats, seafood, leafy vegetables, root vegetables|
|Overeating in general||Silicon||Nuts, seeds|
|Tryptophan||Lamb, cheese, raisins, sweet potato, spinach|
|Tyrosine||Vitamin C (oranges, red and green veggies)|
Not to say that we should always avoid giving into our cravings – there is definitely an emotional component to eating foods that you strongly desire which I believe has great importance for the psyche. But if you find you’re having severe PMS cravings, or are wanting to cut back on the soda, give these suggestions a try.
Now, where did I leave that chocolate… I mean raw nuts/seeds…
The information in this post has been adapted from: http://www.naturopathyworks.com/pages/cravings.php