Before you dive nose-first into that tub of Ben & Jerry’s, it's worth having a look at what your cravings could be telling you so you can give your body what it really needs.
If you’re pining for chocolate, it could be your body’s way of telling you that it needs magnesium. Magnesium plays a huge role in the proper functioning of the nervous system and has been linked to alleviating anxiety, tension and stress. Raw nuts, legumes and seeds are a great chocolate alternative for boosting your magnesium levels. But if you are going to raise the bar, make sure it’s dark. Dark chocolate has a higher content of magnesium rich cacao.
A cheese craving could mean your body needs, you guessed it, calcium. Apart from dairy products, sesame seeds and vegetables such as broccoli and kale are good source of bone-building calcium. Your cheese craving could also indicate an essential fatty acid deficiency. As our body can’t produce these it is vital that we get them from our diet. Try eating foods such as raw walnuts, wild salmon and flaxseeds.
3. Sweet and fizzy drinks
If you crave sweets you may be experiencing low blood sugar. But giving into temptation will only make matters worse. Instead, choose a piece of fruit. Sweet cravings are also linked to a deficiency in the mineral chromium, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels and ward off cravings. Try eating complex carbohydrates like whole grains or sweet potatoes to fuel without the blood sugar spikes.
4. Crisps and salty food
Cravings for salty foods often indicate that your body is in need of chloride. We need chloride to help maintain our metabolism and keep our acid levels in check. Instead of reaching for that packet of crisps, get your chloride fix by snacking on olives, goat’s milk, tomatoes, celery or kelp. Your waistline will thank you too.
5. Bread and pasta
If you’re tempted to carb load, your body is probably in need of nitrogen. We need nitrogen to help build proteins in our blood, hair, skin, nails and DNA. Nitrogen can be found in many protein rich foods such as beans, meats, fish, eggs and nuts and seeds.
6. Red meat
Not surprisingly, cravings for red meat usually indicate an iron deficiency. But you don’t want to overdo it on the meats – studies have shown that diets high in meats and animal proteins can be harmful to health. Next time you’re craving a steak, try subbing it for some iron-rich beans and legumes.