Cravings. They’re just an unavoidable part of life, right? An annoying test of willpower sent to challenge you every day. Whatever your food fantasy involves, chances are you’re far from alone!
Maybe your inner voice starts shouting ‘cake, cake, cake’ come 3pm, or you dream of creamy bowls of pasta, or mountains of salty popcorn… To help keep your diet on track, we’ve rounded up some of the most common cravings and the science behind them. Because if you can understand your cravings, it’s a truckload easier to kick them to the curb. The healthy way.
Can’t stop reaching for the bread basket? You might be low in tryptophan, an amino acid needed to produce serotonin and regulate your mood. Try to eat more protein-rich foods like seeds and nuts, turkey, tofu, cheese and eggs.
Demolishing a bag of chips might sort out your salt craving, but it’ll also leave you crazy thirsty… and a little guilty. The problem could be a lack of calcium (and other minerals) in your diet. Whip up a smoothie with milk, yoghurt, banana, berries, spinach and chia seeds for a calcium-rich mineral boost instead.
If chocolate’s your weak spot, many experts point to a magnesium deficiency. This powerhouse mineral has a bunch of benefits, from relieving muscle aches to strengthening hair. To get a magnesium fix minus the sugar, load up on nuts, seeds, beans and dark leafy greens.
Crunching away on ice cubes might seem harmless enough, but it could also point to anemia. Make sure you’re getting enough iron from foods such as good quality red meat, egg yolks, leafy greens and grains, as well as Vitamin C to help its absorption. See a doctor to have your levels tested if you are feeling lethargic or can’t kick the ice craving.
The candy cycle can be a tough one to break. While a sugar craving can be a sign of low chromium levels, we often reach for the sweets jar when we’re tired. Sure, the sweet stuff will give you a quick energy fix, but it’s an unhealthy, short-term solution. Instead, take a brisk walk around the block, and introduce better sleep techniques.
It sounds kind of weird, but a thirst for coffee can be due to an iron deficiency. When iron levels are low and you feel less than energetic, the buzz of caffeine can be appealing. Make sure you’re getting enough iron (especially during your period) and swap out your second cup with antioxidant-rich green tea.
And if you’re eating well and keeping up your energy levels with SkinnyMint but still having the odd craving? It’s totally ok to indulge… in moderation!
What type of food cravings do you struggle with? Tell us in the comments below.