3 min|Rhiannon Lockhart
What Are Your Cravings Telling You?Nutrition
We've all been there. It sneaks in slowly, and we try to hide from it. We try to avoid it. But it sits there, nagging on our shoulder: a food craving.
Whether your go-to is chips or a handful of cookies, certain cravings might just be telling you something! First, there are a few reasons that you might be having any food craving in particular, so let's dive into these first.
- Lack of sleep: If you consistently crave carbohydrate-rich foods, sometimes fatty foods, it may be due to a lack of sleep. While we sleep, we regulate our hormones that can help us to manage cravings. Better sleep means less overall cravings. Aim for 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
- Dehydration: We tend to mistake dehydration for hunger. If you've recently eaten and you're still hungry, try a glass of water first. Not a fan of water? Sip on herbal teas instead!
- High stress: Most commonly, I see many people have strong hunger cravings when they are stressed. There is a strong correlation between food cravings as well as increased hunger when stressed. Before you begin to eat any meal, be sure to take 5 deep breaths and focus on your food.
If you have all of these three areas under control, but still crave specific foods, there may be a reason for this! In many circumstances, it can be related to a nutrient deficiency in the body, in others, it may be a lifestyle adjustment that can do the trick!
Here are some typical cravings I hear about and why you might be craving them:
- Chocolate. This one is very typical and can often be due to a magnesium deficiency. As many people in today's world can be deficient in magnesium, these cravings are common. Cravings for sweeter chocolate like milk or white chocolate, may also be due to a need for sweetness in one's life.
- Sugar cravings. Think cookies, candies, jams, etc. This is likely due to your body's desire for fast energy. Maybe you didn't sleep as well last night, or you used a lot of energy on physical exercise during the day. Try for fruits, or slow carbohydrates like oats, quinoa, or berries.
- Salt cravings. If you could put salt on everything, your body may be lacking electrolytes. Try adding a pinch of salt to your morning glass of water, or electrolyte drops.
- Ice cravings. This one isn't super typical, but you'll typically see this if you are deficient in iron.
- Cravings for fatty foods like chips: First, this may mean that you need to add more essential fatty acids into your diet. For example: salmon, anchovies or sardines are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. As well, craving fatty foods may mean that you're not typically consuming enough calories during the day. If you think this may be the case, generally track your food intake to ensure you are consuming enough for your physical activity level.
Rhiannon is the Registered Holistic Nutritionist at Integrative. She has a passion for making healthy eating easy, accessible and fun, loves getting outside, and enjoys spending time with her dog, Chloe!