Food cravings don't have to put an end to your healthy eating habits, and they can be a mouthpiece for something important. They can be your body's way of telling you what you really need in order to function better. Here's an interpretation of the hidden meanings behind the most popular food cravings.
18 hidden meanings behind food cravings
Here's what your body really wants when those junk food cravings hit you:
This is the granddaddy of all wishes, and one you don't want to ignore. It's no wonder that chocolate appears as the most common craving, as it works on our endorphins and makes us feel good. Wishing to feel good isn't so bad, so you don't want to deprive yourself of chocolate in the long run.
What your body really wants is Magnesium.
The magnesium, a mineral that is vital for many functions of the body, including blood vessels relax will provide us with energy.
Healthy tip: Have a portion of dark chocolate without sugar or milk. Alternative sources of magnesium, if you've had too much chocolate recently, are nuts and seeds, many types of legumes, and some fruits like bananas and avocados.
It is no wonder that bread is a popular desire because it has become an ingrained habit in our modern world. However, it has been shown time and again that eating too much bread can lead to weight gain.
What your body really wants is amino acids.
Healthy Tip: Instead of bread, try to get amino acids from nuts, fish, and eggs. Or better yet, try a serving of quinoa.
There are a ton of reasons you might be craving coffee, but the most likely one is that it contains an addictive chemical: caffeine. If you drink your coffee with a lot of sugar, then it can also be the sugar craving.
What your body really wants is energy.
You need real energy from natural sources.
Healthy Tip: Try having a smoothie in the morning instead of coffee. If you still want a little caffeine, try green tea which uses a natural source of caffeine, and can even help promote weight loss.
One wish that is hard to not fulfill is for sugar. Sugary food cravings top the list of cravings overall. This is because there are so many sugar-laden temptations lurking around every corner. Many of these sweets offer nothing in the way of nutrition.
What your body really wants is glucose.
Abstinence from all forms of sugar cannot be a sustainable goal since your body needs glucose to keep blood sugar levels where they need to be. Just make sure that along with your glucose level you are getting adequate vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Healthy Tip: Use fruit as your source of sugar. They contain fructose as well as glucose and will provide you with the antioxidants and other nutrients that make them a satisfying snack when you would otherwise be eating cookies and other sweets.
5. Fried food cravings
Fried food cravings are natural, as they tend to smell so good when you are cooking them, and they taste so good when you are eating. They send massive pleasure signals to the brain, so it sometimes seems like you can't go too long between doses of fried, fatty foods.
What your body really wants is healthy fat.
Healthy Tip: Make sure you are getting a supply of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in your diet. Great sources are avocados, which also provide minerals and fiber, as well as nuts like almonds and cashews. If you do fry your food, try frying it in coconut oil for an even healthier, rich, buttery and fat flavor.
6. Fizzy drinks
Sometimes a good fizzy drink is what you crave, but do you ever stop to wonder why? Aside from the novelty, there could be a deeper meaning behind this wish.
What your body really wants is hydration.
It could be that the dry sensation of your lips has been associated with the intake of liquids, and your body points to these drinks since you are looking for hydration. However, these drinks are usually full of sugar, caffeine, and other chemicals, and they can have a dehydrating effect.
Healthy Tip: Drink only distilled beverages or spring water when you find yourself craving a cola. If the desire is still there hours later, then you know that it is not due to dehydration and you may want to satisfy that craving from time to time, but only from time to time.
Alcohol is an addictive substance, so it's no surprise that your body is requesting it again. The main problem with alcohol is the direct effect it has on the liver, and the trickle effect of having a liver that is not working well.
What your body really wants is minerals.
It may sound strange, as excess alcohol will actually deplete your body of minerals, but that's what you crave when you're looking for a cocktail. Potassium and calcium are two of these minerals, and you might also be in need of a protein boost.
Healthy tip: ask for a virgin drink and you will get all the flavor without the alcohol. Many mixed drinks contain juices with vitamin C so you can still have fun without doing harm to your body. If you're looking forward to a big night out, make sure you're recharged with vitamins and minerals to minimize the loss it will take in your nutrient levels.
8. Salty snacks
Walk down the snack aisle of any grocery store and you'll see that the predominant characteristics are that they all contain salt. Salt reigns supreme in the world of snacks, and there is no doubt why it appears in almost every bag of fried food.
What your body really wants is sodium.
Your body needs sodium, but you want to make sure it comes from the correct sources, and not from the table salt or industrial grade salt they use in snacks. This form of salt leads to fluid retention, although it is also healthy if consumed to a high degree.
Healthy Tip: Opt for Himalayan pink salt or sea salt as natural sources of sodium. If you recently indulged in a snack or salty meal be sure to get some exercise so that it can help you sweat off the excess sodium.
9. Fast food
We have quickly become a fast food world, and you can't drive a few miles from the most populated areas without passing a fast food restaurant of some sort. Fast food cravings are constant when you have acquired a fast lifestyle as well and have gotten used to eating out knowing every restaurant in the town.
What your body really wants is balanced and satisfying food.
Healthy Tip: Of course it is better to make your own food than to eat fast food. To do this, make sure you are eating a balanced diet with lean protein, non-starchy carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
Pizza has a special place in the diet of many places, and is one of the most commonly requested items, but what is really behind this pizza craving?
What your body really wants is fatty acids.
Pizza is a fatty food, and if you've noticed that you're having fatty food cravings of late, it could mean you're running low in important fatty acids, and your body is trying to compensate for it.
Healthy Tip: Make sure you're getting enough fatty acids from healthy foods like salmon, flax seeds, and walnuts, and see if that doesn't take a toll on your pizza cravings. Ordering pizza every once in a while, isn't bad for you if you're in good health, as long as you keep your portions under control, and aren't eating it as a way to offset your fatty acid intake.
Cheese comes across as a craving when you're trying to lose weight, and it's often the bane of well-intentioned dieters. But why is cheese so hard to resist, and why does it appear on the "Do Not Eat" list of so many diet programs?
What your body really wants is calories.
Cheese is high in calories, and even a one-ounce serving gives you around 100 calories. If you've been following a low-calorie diet, you may have noticed that your craving for cheese has been increasing because your body knows that it will soon make up for the deficit.
Healthy Tip: Make sure you're getting enough calories to get through the day without craving. Eat foods that contain healthy levels of calories and also provide you with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
12. Acidic foods
Acid-forming foods come in all different forms, and sometimes just because a food tastes sour doesn't mean it is. A sample of acidic foods includes corn, wheat, blueberries, butter, bacon, and many more. Lemons and limes are actually alkalizing when consumed.
What your body really wants is magnesium.
If you start to feel low, your body will try to compensate by looking for acidic foods in hopes of getting your magnesium levels up.
Healthy Tip: Get a good supply of magnesium-rich foods and you will notice that your craving for acidic foods will fade. The good news is that many foods high in magnesium are also alkaline.
13. Soups and liquid foods
Have you noticed that you are looking for soups, smoothies and other liquid forms of food instead of solid ones? Your body could be trying to tell you something.
What your body really wants is water.
Try having your water intake and see if that takes away your craving for liquid foods. The body only has a few signals to tell your brain what it wants, and wanting to drink your food is one way of saying you should drink more water.
Healthy tip: Getting enough water can be a difficult habit to start, but start with a glass from the morning and until you reach the evening with the last part of your daily intake. Drink half your body weight in ounces as an ideal.
14. Cold foods
Eating cold foods can slow down digestion, so you don't want to do this unless it's summer and your body is trying to keep its cool.
What your body really wants is to cool down.
If your body gets too hot it will want to cool down quickly, and the best response to that is with cold foods. However, make sure that it is not a case of dehydration and that you are not using food to compensate for the lack of water.
Healthy Tip: Stay cool indoors and out, and if you know you're going to be in the sun and sweating, you'll need to take extra steps to maintain proper hydration levels.
15. Lots of food
Overeating has almost become a hobby, but it is one of the worst things you can do for health and wellness. The dangerous aspect of overeating is that it tends to form a habit, and you can develop one.
What your body really wants is well-balanced portioned meals.
When a meal is uneven, with either too much carbohydrate or too much protein, the natural instinct is to eat more of the same to compensate for the imbalance. Direct your attention to the proportion of carbohydrates and proteins in your meals.
Healthy tip: Avoid putting yourself in a situation where the amounts of food are infinite. Stick to what's on your plate and give your stomach time to tell your brain that it's full.
Lack of carbohydrates is one of the most popular cravings for those trying to lose weight by counting carbohydrates. It's no wonder you crave what you're abstaining from, especially if you used to eat a lot of foods that were high in carbohydrates.
What your body really wants with these food cravings is vitamins and minerals.
If you have eaten on a carbohydrate-restricted diet, you could be limiting your intake and therefore causing a lack of important nutrients, having carbohydrate cravings.
Healthy Tip: Choose the right carbohydrate sources, the ones that give you the most nutritious punch. Not all carbs are bad, just the ones that don't offer a lot of nutrients down the road.
If you find yourself having food cravings of this type, you will definitely want to take note because it takes quite a bit of them for your body to carry out basic functions with your different systems. Starving yourself for protein will start to make you see negative side effects, according to LifeSpa's John Douillard.
What your body really wants is protein. As simple as that.
This is an easy task, if your body is asking for more protein there is nothing else you can give it more than the protein it needs. Maybe you've eaten too many carbs, and these food cravings are your body's way of telling you to balance things out a bit with a serving of protein.
Healthy Tip: If you're into those food cravings, make sure you're eating high-quality food, preferably organic lean protein. That piece of fried chicken might be what you're craving, but it would be better served, nutritionally speaking, as a grilled chicken breast.
18. Nothing at all
If your appetite has disappeared and you are not craving anything at all, you might think that it is because you are totally satisfied. But it could be that you are not getting enough vitamins and minerals.
What your body really wants is zinc.
One mineral in particular that could be the cause of your poor appetite is zinc. This is an important mineral that affects your taste buds, and it is one that your body needs on a daily basis.
Healthy Tip: Eat foods rich in zinc, and also make sure to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes to cover all of your nutritional bases. This should be done over a series of days, in which you should see your appetite return. If your lack of appetite is persistent, check with your doctor to discover potential causes.
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