Why is it soooo hard to resist a strong food craving?! There are days where I’m fine eating my meal prepped meals but then there are other days where I want nothing but crunchy chips or sweet treats. It made me wonder… are cravings really as evil as they seem, or is there some science behind them?
It turns out…
YES. There is science behind it!
Sometimes we crave certain foods when our bodies need something. In other words, cravings are one way our bodies communicate with us. Pretty cool!
Here are some common food cravings and what they might mean.
I mean, I crave sweets all the time but I can think of two times when my cravings get SUPER intense: when I’m emotional and when my period is about to hit.
Turns out there’s a reason why!
Emotions trigger strong cravings because your body literally “craves” comfort. Sugar in particular triggers the “reward center” in the brain, which makes you more likely to crave sugar whenever you need to feel better.
Your body also has more cravings when your hormones are out of balance, which is exactly what happens around your period.
Maybe you NEED chocolate specifically
Of course you could crave chocolate for the same reasons you crave sweets. BUT some experts wonder if craving chocolate might indicate a magnesium deficiency. Oh and there’s more – low magnesium can impact your mood! So if you notice you’ve been down and you’re suddenly hit with a chocolate craving, it’s possible that you’re low on magnesium.
Your body needs more magnesium when you’re on your period, so definitely pay attention during this time!
To tackle this craving without overeating the Ghiradelli, go for other magnesium-rich foods like bananas and leafy greens.
Orrrrr something with a good crunch
We’ve allllll been there, hopelessly staring into the pantry wishing we had something crunchy to snack on. UGH! Why is crunchiness so satisfying sometimes?!
Well…you might be stressed or frustrated!
YES! Chewing on something crunchy helps you release some tension that might be building in your body. Hmm so maybe that’s why once you start eating a bag of chips, it’s almost impossible to stop!
If you’re avoiding that, try munching on some crunchy veggies or make your own baked apple or sweet potato chips. YUM.
If you’re dying to get your hands on something salty…
Yessss sometimes I just need pickles, popcorn, or anything salty.
If you’re the same way, you might be dehydrated or your electrolytes could be out of whack. You’re most likely to get hit with a craving for something salty after a workout, when you’ve been outside a lot on a hot day, or when you’re not on your water game.
So drink up, and see if that helps!
When you’re hit with a caffeine craving
If you’re craving a latte, chai tea or maybe a soda, there might be more to it than just loving the taste.
We tend to crave caffeine whenever we need some kind of “pick me up,” So you might notice a strong craving if you’re feeling drained from stress, you’re not getting enough sleep, or you just hit that mid-afternoon slump.
Craving caffeine can also mean you’re dehydrated! Not drinking enough water can make you feel super sluggish, which might trick you into thinking you need caffeine for a little energy boost.
If you want to save money and calories, try drinking more water or see if a quick workout might boost your energy a bit.
If you’re craving a juicy steak…
Craving red meat might mean your body needs more iron, zinc or vitamin B12 – especially if this craving is a little unusual for you.
If you’re also looking a little pale, feeling tired or weak, or having other symptoms of anemia, it might be a good idea to have your Dr. check your iron levels. Also, it’s possible for your iron levels to dip just a little when you’re on your period, because you’re losing blood. So you might notice that you crave more burgers and steaks around this time!
Most of the time, cravings stem from habit.
However, it’s totally possible that your cravings mean that your body is trying to tell you something.
If you’re dealing with cravings, remember that it’s not always bad to give in! Sometimes resisting just makes the craving stronger. So listen to your body and don’t guilt yourself for eating the foods you crave in moderation.
What kind of foods do you find yourself craving the most often?!