Grabbing a bite or two in between meals or throughout the day is normal. But if you constantly find yourself craving specific foods, then this is much more complicated than just hunger.
Evolution developed our body to crave something when it needs it. Not just to fill the stomach, the cause can be emotional or psychological as well. Yes, every time you crave something, the body tells you what it lacks. But how do we identify why it needs them? And what is the solution to it?
Here is what your cravings say about your physical and emotional needs:
1. Tea/ Coffee
Drinking a cup of tea or coffee is a routine for some people. But cravings are a lot different than routine consumption. If you find yourself reaching for a cup of brew more than usual, the situation is more complicated than a daily dependency on caffeine. You are craving it. The question is, why? The first and foremost reason for this craving is a lack of hydration. Other reasons include low energy levels and high-stress levels.
It is pretty common to binge on chips and french fries every now and then. Craving any kind of salty food may be a sign of dehydration or low levels of electrolytes. Hence the best solution to salt cravings is to rehydrate on some refreshing drinks and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Keep those salty treats out of reach as they add to dehydration.
Before we dive into the craving department, let’s clarify what constitutes as carbs. Bread, starchy vegetables (potatoes, beets, corn), honey or sugar (processed or any other form), and beans, to name a few, are high-carb food items and should be consumed in limited quantities.
If you find yourself craving any of these food items, it could be an indicator of fluctuation in your blood sugar levels. It is not as scary as it sounds. Consume food rich in fibre, such as fruits and leafy green vegetables (celery, broccoli, spinach). This does not imply that you should completely switch out all the carbs in your diet with fibre-rich food. Consuming carbs is just as important as it helps to lift your mood.
Cheese is nothing less than comfort food. The tasty gooey richness just melts in your mouth and melts all of your problems away. In addition, L-tryptophan, an amino acid present in cheese, is highly effective for conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PMS. This explains why cheese is a prominent part of most comfort foods. So it is not uncommon for one to instinctively open their refrigerator and reach for a block of cheese after a long day.
Most people don’t need a reason to consume chocolate. What can we say? It is quite heavenly. But it is more than just the taste that draws you to it. Constant craving for chocolate can be a sign of high-stress levels, and in women, PMS.
Chocolate also contains certain vitamins, minerals, and compounds such as magnesium, chromium, theobromine, and fatty acids. A craving may signify a deficiency of these components. Chocolate helps your body produce serotonin, also known as the “happy hormone.” All the more reason to munch on it whenever you feel like it!
6. Sugar/ Sweets
Anything that is sweet is linked with good emotional health. They are also good fuel for your body. There is a reason why after a break-up or a bad day at work, you see yourself with a tub of ice cream or a bar of chocolate in your hand. It is your body’s way of telling you that it is running on fumes and needs to refuel.
While satisfying these cravings is an instinct, it is not exactly the healthiest way to go. Too much sugar can lead to more problems than good. Instead, go for low-sugar foods such as dark chocolate, fruits, berries, and Greek yogurt.
Cravings are not always a result of an empty stomach. Sometimes it could be because of dehydration, emotional imbalance, or just plain boredom. All of these can lead you to binge eat things that will only make things worse. Fortunately, the solution to these cravings is as simple as drinking a glass of water or engaging in an activity that eliminates your boredom, something that won’t make you feel like reaching into your fridge or the cabinet full of snacks in your kitchen.