Do you have any idea what may be the cause of your food cravings? You may be surprised to know that your food cravings have nothing to do with being physically hungry. Whether it's chocolate, a bag of salty chips, or big greasy cheese burger, we are all stricken with cravings for certain foods at one time or another. Craving's in many cases may not be what they appear. Sometimes it's about listening to your body and determining what it's really asking for. The body requires macronutrients (protein, fats and carbs) as well as micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to function optimally. If the body is deficient in a nutrient, it will likely show a sign. In many cases, that sign is a food craving.
For example, if the body does not receive enough omega – 3 fatty acids in the daily diet, it may que us to eat more of the wrong kind of fat. We'll likely eat the greasy cheese burger or slice of cheesy pizza, or bag of chips. Unfortunately, those foods are not going to give the body what it is looking for. This can turn into a huge over indulgence, which is never good. Once the body is given the right kinds of fats such as the omega – 3s, the cravings may go away.
Craving's can also be a more complicated problem. Sometimes those cravings are an indication that something may be wrong internally, maybe even a health concern. Salt is a great example of that. If you find yourself craving salt or salting food before even tasting it, this may be a sign of electrolyte imbalance. This may also be a sign of adrenal fatigue, which if not addressed can lead to other hormonal imbalances, affecting cortisol, DHEA, estrogen, testosterone, the thyroid, melatonin and many others.
Sugar cravings are another one that in many cases are attributed to adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue can interfere with cortisol production, leading to blood glucose depletion and hypoglycemia. As blood sugar levels drop, this cues a person to eat sugar in an effort to raise those levels. For women, food cravings tend to be at their greatest during pre-menestration. Those cravings can be caused by something as simple as the need for zinc. But it can also be something more complicated.
The chemical changes within a women's body combined with stress and emotions, trigger those cravings for chocolate, ice cream and french fries. Unfortunately consuming these processed foods leads to additional bloating and water retention.
Here is a list of common cravings and the possible deficiency associated with them.
Food craving: Fat. Common deficiency: Calcium.
Food craving: Bread. Common deficiency: Nitrogen.
Food craving: Soda. Common deficiency: Calcium.
Food craving: Chocolate: Common deficiency: Magnesium.
Food craving: Salt. Common deficiency: Sodium, chloride.
Food craving: Sugar/sweets. Common deficiency: Chromium, phosphorous, tryptophan, sulfur.
Food craving: Coffee. Common deficiency: Phosphorous, sulfur, sodium chloride, iron.
If you are experiencing chronic cravings for certain food types, where adding in the nutrient containing foods doesn't help, then you may have some internal imbalance present, like hormonal or digestive issues. It may be a good idea to contact a functional or holistic nutritionist or a naturopathic doctor.
By performing a bio-individualized assessment, and possibly running lab tests, a naturopathic doctor may be able to uncover the underlying causes of cravings, then prescribe the appropriate nutrition and nutraceuticals regimen required to correct the underlying causes, halting the cravings before they turn into something more severe.