Although people have food cravings for a number of different reasons, an abnormal craving for something is usually a sign that your body is low in a particular mineral, nutrient or vitamin.
When you crave a particular food, your body is speaking out to you and trying to tell you that you’re lacking in something important.
Here are some of the most popular food cravings and what they mean:
Sometimes, a craving for sugary foods can simply mean that your body is under hydrated and may need some water. But at other times, sugar cravings could indicate a blood sugar imbalance or more precisely, a drop in sugar levels. However, instead of reaching for cakes and biscuits to ‘stabilise’ your blood sugar level, it’s a good idea to consume more fibre-enriched foods to give your body the fuel it needs without spiking up sugar levels.
Suggestions: Beans, whole grains, fruit & vegetables.
Changes in stress hormone levels in the body can often lead to cravings for salty foods. So if you tend to always carry around a packet of crisps with you during exam season, this could be why. The adrenal glands, responsible for helping the body cope with stress, tend to get tired from hormone production. To support these hard working organs and to keep the salt craving at bay, add more B-vitamin foods to your diet.
Suggestions: Nuts, seeds & vegetables.
A craving for carbonated drinks usually indicate low levels of calcium in the body. Calcium, as you probably already know, is associated with bone growth. When the body is low in calcium, it will draw this mineral from it’s bones, which could lead to health problems in the future. Instead of reaching for a fizzy drink, try including more calcium- enriched foods in your diet.
Suggestions: Low-fat dairy products or leafy greens
A craving for greasy foods can often indicate a fatty acid deficiency. Instead of having a deep fried snack, try including more good fats in your diet. This will provide the body with essential fatty acids and may reduce cravings for unhealthy fats.
Suggestions: Omega-3 and omega -6 fatty acids and more fat-soluble vitamins E, D K & A.
White flour based cravings can indicate fatigue, changes in blood sugar levels or insulin resistance. If you tend to crave a lot of white bread, crackers or foods that have a lot of white flour in them, then it is important to include more fibre in the diet. This will give you better blood sugar control.
Suggestions: Fibre, magnesium enriched foods like bananas or spinach & more protein.
A fish craving can indicate low levels of protein in the body. Adding more protein to your diet usually does the job when you are craving fish in general, but when it is more specific i.e salty fish, then it may mean the body needs more sodium.
Suggestions: Nuts, leafy greens and beans.
Cravings for red meat are usually a sign of an iron deficiency. So if you often crave steaks or burgers quite regularly then it may be time to eat some more iron-rich foods. Since vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, it’s a good idea to eat foods that are high in this vitamin along with your iron-enriched foods.
Suggestions: Legumes, dried fruit & beans.
Disclaimer: This list is only an indication. Specific food cravings could mean different things for different people. See your doctor if you have any concerns.