All of us have experienced it – craving certain foods so badly that it seems out of control. Those cravings can make us frantic, which is the exact opposite of what we need when we are managing a highly active lifestyle.
What Causes Food Cravings?
Food cravings are caused by physiological and emotional reasons.
Cravings are associated with regions of the brain responsible for memory, pleasure and reward. After eating foods that we really enjoy, the brain releases endorphins – chemicals that make us feel euphoric. Eating to trigger more endorphins is an addictive response.
Imbalances in hormones such as leptin and serotonin can be the underlying cause. When is the last time you had a physical checkup?
Sometimes we crave comfort foods to divert our attention from anxiety, worry and stress. In this case, we typically want the foods that we associate with a sense of safety, such as the foods we were given as a child under the care of an adult.
When we experience non-selective hunger – the desire to eat anything, we might be experiencing real hunger. But it can also be the body’s way of letting us know it is thirsty. Staying hydrated can help with this type of craving.
Cravings for sweet, salty or fatty foods can also mean our body is not getting sufficient vitamins, minerals and proteins. It can help to eat a balanced diet in smaller portions at more regular intervals.
Managing Specific Cravings
Salt – this can mean that you need more chloride in your system, so try eating celery, olives or sea salt.
Sweets – tends to correlate to not having enough healthy fats and plant powered meals.
Carbs – this could be flagging you that you need nitrogen in your diet, and it could be improved by upping your intake of healthy fats like omega 3,6, or 9 supplements.
Junk Food – craving junk food can be an indication that you need calcium, and it could benefit you to eat more leafy greens and plant based proteins.
Caffeine – fixating on caffeine might mean you are not getting enough salt and iron, so try helping by incorporating healthy fats like avocados, coconut oil, and olive oil.