Almost everyone gets cravings for certain foods, but the health and physical state of someone is determined by how they act on those food cravings. So first, understand the science behind why you crave what you crave.
The science of food cravings: What your body is telling you
Food cravings aren’t always bad; they can sometimes be a good indicator that your body is trying to tell you something. The key to a healthy body is to understand what food cravings are good for you and what food cravings aren’t.
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Studies have found that about 90 percent of people crave food, with women leaning more toward sweets and men leaning toward savory. An excellent example of cravings is during pregnancy when a person gets different messages from their body that could be caused by shortages in particular nutrients or hormonal changes.
Read on if you struggle to understand why you’re craving something or when to act upon those cravings.
Not every craving is good, and not every desire is terrible. Learning the difference will help you act upon positive signals and stay away from negative ones.
Reasons why you’re craving certain foods
There are different reasons why people crave certain foods at other times. Although these cravings are not always harmful, they can sometimes lead to bad food choices.
You have a deficiency
You might be craving foods because you have a nutritional deficiency, and your body tells you you need to supplement it. However, giving into your specific craving might not always be the best choice, especially if you crave unhealthy foods.
Craving specific foods could signal high-stress levels, and thinking about a particular type of food is your body trying to seek comfort. If you’re struggling from extreme stress and can’t help but give in to your cravings, a recommendation would be to do so in smaller portions, especially if the food is not suitable or is otherwise unhealthy for you.
If you’re used to eating a particular food, your body will find a way to remind you about it. Just like a memory, habits are hard to change or forget, but the good thing is that they can be supplemented and substituted.
Different types of food cravings
Food cravings tell your body different things. It can be a way for your body to tell you that it needs something. Here are the most common food cravings and what they usually mean.
Craving sweets can be an indicator that your blood sugar is low. Instead of giving into high-calorie sweets, however, you can choose to eat fruits, which are a good source of sugar.
The interesting thing about craving salty foods is that they can be linked to dehydration. When your electrolytes are low, this can lead to your craving for salty food. Instead of eating overly-salty foods, introduce a little sodium to your diet to prevent you from feeling tired or fatigued.
Oily or fatty foods
Oily or fatty foods aren’t a good craving. To help you avoid giving into unhealthy high saturated fat foods, try eating foods high in omega-3 oils, such as eggs, salmon, nuts, or avocados, to supplement this type of craving.
When thinking about pasta or bread, this could signify that you lack magnesium and fiber. However, some fruits and vegetables like bananas or dark leafy greens contain enough starch to help you handle your cravings.
If you’re craving something sour, this could be a symptom of gut health issues or acid imbalance in your stomach. Drinking lemon water is a healthy way for you to cleanse your body while avoiding damage to your gut.