Food cravings don’t have to put an end to your healthy eating habits. They can be your body’s way of telling you what it’s really needing in order to function at its best. Here’s how to interpret the hidden meanings behind the most popular food cravings.
When You Are Craving…
This is the granddaddy of all cravings, and one that you don’t want to ignore. It’s not surprising that chocolate pops up as the most common craving, because it works on our endorphins and makes us feel good. It’s not such a bad thing to crave feeling good, so you don’t want to deprive yourself of chocolate long-term.
What your body really wants is Magnesium
Aside from the effect it has on the chemistry of the brain, chocolate also contains magnesium, a mineral that is vital to several functions of the body, including relaxing blood vessels and providing us with energy.
Here’s how to stay healthy: Have a serving of dark chocolate. It has the magnesium your body is asking for, without the added sugar in milk chocolate. Let’s face it, nothing satisfies a chocolate craving but chocolate, you just have to demand a better grade of chocolate. Alternative sources of magnesium if you’ve had too much chocolate recently are nuts and seeds, many types of legumes, and some fruits like bananas and avocados.
Bread shows up all over the place, as the bookends to most sandwiches, a side to soup, and the foundation for a pizza. It’s no surprise that it’s a popular craving because it’s become an ingrained habit in our modern world. But it’s been shown again and again that eating too much bread can lead to weight gain due to the toll it takes on blood sugar levels, and the high carb count.
What your body really wants is Amino Acids
Your body needs some help in the amino acid department, as it can’t make the essential amino acids it needs on its own.
Here’s how to stay healthy: Instead of bread try getting your amino acids from nuts, fish, and eggs. Or better yet, try a serving of quinoa, which contains a complete set of all essential amino acids, as well as a full serving of fiber, and an assortment of vitamins and minerals.
There are a ton of reasons why you might be craving coffee, but the most likely one is that it contains an addictive chemical in it: caffeine. If you take your coffee with plenty of sugar, you might also be craving the sugar, which we’ll cover next.
What your body really wants is Energy
When you instinctively reach for the coffee in the morning, what you’re really in search of is energy. The problem with getting your energy from a stimulant like caffeine is eventually it wears out, and often leaves you feeling more depleted than before you consumed it. What your body needs, what it craves, is real energy from natural sources.
Here’s how to stay healthy: Try going with a smoothie in the morning rather than coffee. If you still want some caffeine to go along with it try our Green Tea Smoothie which uses a natural source of caffeine in the green tea and can help promote weight loss.
One craving that is hard to kick is a sugar craving. This is because there are so many sugar-laden temptations lurking around every corner. Many of these sweets offer nothing in the way of nutrition, and are merely a way to satisfy your sweet tooth and leave you feeling regretful after you eat them.
What your body really wants is Glucose
Your body does need some glucose to make it through the day and keep your blood sugar levels where they should be. Abstaining from all forms of sugar may not be a sustainable goal. Just be sure that along with your glucose you’re getting vitamins, minerals, and fiber as well.
Here’s how to stay healthy: Use fruit as your source of sweet. They contain fructose as well as glucose and will provide you with antioxidants and other nutrients that makes them a satisfying snack when you’d otherwise be munching on cookies and other sweet treats.
5. Fried Foods
Craving fried foods is only natural since they tend to smell so good when you’re cooking them, and taste so good when you’re eating them. They send massive pleasure signals to the brain, which is why it sometimes seems that you can’t go too long between doses fried, fatty foods.
What your body really wants is Healthy Fat
If you’ve been on a mission to cut fat out of your diet, it’s time to bring back the healthy fat that’s actually helping you feel full and lose excess fat from your body.
Here’s how to stay healthy: Be sure you’re getting a supply of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in your diet. Great sources are avocados, which also provide minerals and fiber, as well as nuts like almonds and cashews. If you do fry foods, try frying them up in coconut oil for a rich, buttery taste and even more healthy fat.
Alcohol is an addictive substance, so it’s no shock that your body is requesting it again. The main problem with alcohol is the direct effect it has on the liver, and the trickle down effect from having a liver that isn’t functioning at its best.
What your body really wants is Minerals
It may sound strange, since too much alcohol will actually sap your body of minerals, but that’s what it’s craving when you’re in search of a cocktail. Potassium and calcium are two of these minerals, and you could also be in need of a protein boost.
Here’s how to stay healthy: Order a virgin drink and you’ll get all of the flavor without the alcohol. Many mixed drinks will contain juices with Vitamin C so you can still have fun without doing damage to your body. If you’re expecting a big night out, be sure to top up on your vitamins and minerals to minimize the toll it will take on your nutrient levels.
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