FOOD & NUTRITION

Stop Your Food Cravings By Understanding What They Mean

by
Keri Glassman
Author
February 22, 2017

Food cravings may sometimes arise from old habits or memories (like the smell of your grandmother’s chocolate chip cookies…mmm).

However, while most of the research is still new doesn’t show a direct link between specific cravings and nutrient deficiencies , there is some evidence pointing to food cravings  as your body’s natural, instinctive way of letting you know you that you need more of an important nutrient.

Listening to your biology isn’t easy in today’s world, but it’s crucial, especially since cravings may direct you towards a false fix, like processed foods and sugary  treats, which will temporarily alleviate the craving but won’t get at the root of the issue.

Here are some of the most common food cravings and what your body may be telling you when you have them.

Crave This, Eat That

The Craving: French fries

What It Means: If you’ve got a hankering for fries or other salty  snacks like potato chips and pretzels, you could be slightly dehydrated. Hey, it’s always great to drink more water, so start there. But it could also mean you need calcium, since studies have shown  a marginal deficiency of the mineral could stimulate the desire for salt, and others have shown women on low-calcium diets crave salty food more.

How to Satisfy It: If you indulge the craving, the salt will temporarily increase calcium levels in the blood, essentially tricking the body into thinking it’s taking in calcium when it’s not. Instead, reach for calcium-rich foods like yogurt kefir,  almonds, tofu , sesame seeds, and sardines.

The Craving: Chocolate cupcakes

What It Means: An overactive sweet tooth  may be a signal that you’re magnesium deficient, according to research . And while magnesium deficiency is not proven to cause PMS symptoms, some studies have shown increasing the amount of the mineral your diet can decrease PMS symptoms such as irritability, fluid retention, and headaches. I don’t know about you, but for me, those symptoms often lead to cravings for a bottomless tub of chocolate ice cream.

How to Satisfy It: A diet rich in foods such as spinach,  legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains will ensure that you don’t become magnesium deficient. Then, you can eat sugary treats as conscious indulgences, when it’s really worth it, rather than constantly fighting the urge.

The Craving: A juicy burger

What It Means: Here’s a case where your body’s sending you a clear signal. A strong craving for meat may mean you’re iron-deficient. In fact, studies  show that in pregnant women and others with iron deficiencies, food cravings serve to prevent or alleviate the nutritional deficit.

How to Satisfy It: Go ahead, grill up a grass-fed, organic burger, since red meat is the best source of iron. You can also get it from fish and poultry, or if you’re a vegetarian, in tofu, legumes (lentils and kidney beans), nuts (cashews and almonds), seeds (pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds), oatmeal,  dried fruit (apricots and raisins), and vegetables (mushrooms  and potatoes ). Just keep in mind that it’s harder for the body to absorb iron from plant-based sources. To help, pair iron-rich foods with foods rich in vitamin C, as it will help your body absorb the iron .

The bottom line? Listen up! Your body has got a lot to say. Your food cravings may be telling you a lot more than, “Do not pass go, head straight for the nearest Shake Shack.”

Tried it all, but your weight still won’t budge?

Learn why your hard work isn’t paying off and how to re-channel your energy to lose the weight. Download Keri Glassman’s e-book: Why Can’t I Drop the Weight?


Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

This piece was originally published on Keri Glassman’s Nutritious Life.

by
Keri Glassman
Author

Keri Glassman is a nationally recognized nutritionist, registered dietitian, healthy cooking expert, author, and the founder and president of Keri Glassman, Nutritious Life, a nutrition practice and health and wellness brand. She has dedicated her career to creating services and promoting education through her Nutritious Life brand.

Read full bio
readiness quiz

Get a snapshot of your health - right now.

Take our quiz to get your symptom score and start uncovering the why behind your symptoms.

GET SYMPTOM SCORE
Related Posts
Get “Prescription for Happiness” and Reach a New Level of Energy, Clarity, and Calm
Four Smart Ways to Track Your Heart Health Today
How to Select the Right Health Coach for You
12 Gifts For The Well-Being Seekers In Your Life
10 TikTok Health Trends Worth Trying—and Avoiding
Doctor examining patient

WHAT IS PARSLEY HEALTH?

Our leading medical providers and health coaches heal the root cause of health concerns with a personalized care plan and year-round support. Our root-cause resolution medicine has helped thousands feel better, with 85% of members reducing symptoms in their first year.

Parsley Health medical providers are trained to treat the root cause of complex, chronic conditions and symptoms. Ready to start feeling better?

Get Symptom Score