The foods that you choose to consume each day can reveal a huge deal about what you crave at a core level. Decoding your cravings means starting thinking outside the box and reconsider your entire meal plan.
Hunger is a tricky thing as it’s often confused with thirst. Sometimes you also feel hungry because you’re tired or stressed and all your body needs is a healthy amount of sleep – not a box of ice cream or a bag of chips.
If you have a strong and constant desire for a particular drink or food or a group of foods and drinks, it’s a warning sign your meal plan lacks certain nutrients. Today we’re on a quick journey to learning how to recognize different hunger pangs and understand what your frequent cravings say about your diet. So if you crave or experience…
1.Packaged, processed foods
It means your life is full of stress, lack of sleep, and life challenges. Such food choices belong to emotional cravings rather than physiological one. Depression is another culprit. When you’re feeling down, disappointed, sleepy, or depressed, you head to the nearest store and grab a bag of potato chips, or ice cream, or whatever salty, sweetened, and processed hidden in the box or container.
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In order to beat these cravings, you should get emotionally healthy. Get enough sleep, fight stress with exercises like running or jogging, and consult a doctor if you’re suffering from chronic fatigue, anxiety, or depression.
2.Rapid, intense cravings for fruit
This may indicate you’re suffering from dehydration and need to hydrate your body. This may also be a sign of malnutrition. People switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet often experience such cravings. Increase your water intake to 7 to 8 glasses of water per day. If it doesn’t help, talk to your doctor and do a test to find out which nutrients your body desperately craves. Maybe you need magnesium, B vitamins, or vitamin C.
Cravings for fruit are often ignored because the fruit is healthy. However, too much of fruit can be harmful too and it can lead to digestive disorders and issues, including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and constipation.
People on a low carb diet or elimination diet often crave carbs, such as bread, pasta, pastries, and other comfort foods. Carbs contain glucose, the major source of energy for your body. Without carbs, your body won’t be able to function properly. They are vital for your brain work and heart health. Plus, carbs help to prevent or reduce bloating and combat mood swings.
If you crave carbs – especially in the evening – it may be a warning sign you have low-blood sugar or high-insulin levels. Headache, nausea, and physical and mental fatigue are other signs of carb deficiency. Regardless of your diet, don’t eliminate carbs completely, eat them in moderation every day.
It’s hard to believe but frequent soda cravings indicate that your body is deficient in calcium. Calcium deficiency is very common these days but it possesses dangerous side effects. Weak, brittle nails, muscle cramps, mood swings, and tingling and numbness in the face, feet, and hands are other signs of calcium deficiency. Rather than reach for soda drinks, have a cup of plain Greek yogurt, which contains more calcium than regular yogurt. Kale and broccoli are the excellent sources of calcium, too.
Coffee addiction is one thing, but if you crave caffeine every other hour and you tend to drink up to 6 cups of coffee throughout the day, it’s a possible sign your body is in need of salt and iron. Caffeine cravings often indicate dehydration, as well. Have a glass of water or eat an iron-rich snack whenever the caffeine cravings occur. Some wonderful iron-rich foods include spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables, beans, legumes, seeds, nuts, mushrooms, potatoes, olives, and mulberries.
Do you often find yourself craving a double cheese pizza or some cheesy sandwiches? Cheese is an excellent food that we all want once in a while. However, if you can’t live a day without some cheesy meal, it’s one of the signs you’re having a fatty acid deficiency. The omega-3 fatty acid and omega-6 fatty acid are responsible for the health of your hair, skin, and nails. Moreover, they play a critical role in the function of the most organs in the body.
The next time you desperately crave a cheesy thing, try eating an avocado, flaxseed, or walnuts. Or, have a cup of low-fat cottage cheese topped with frozen berries, cinnamon, or chia seeds.
Vegans and vegetarians are less prone to meat cravings since their choice starts in their head where they understand that meat is an act of killing animals. Dieters trying to cut calories and fat, on the contrary, are more prone to meat cravings. Meat cravings often indicate iron deficiency, albeit sometimes it’s just an indicator that you simply want some meat because you haven’t been consuming it for months, if not years. Try using mushrooms and eggplants instead of meat in your recipes to see if your cravings disappear. If not, a doctor visit is a must.
There are tons of salty snacks available in the supermarket these days. If you often have to buy a bag of potato chips, salty crackers, or any other salty snack, it’s a surefire sign you’re overstressed and your adrenal glands might be negatively affected. Like sugar, sodium is dangerous to your health and it can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, and weak immunity.
Start with lowering your stress level and then gradually remove sodium-rich foods from your eating plan. Try seeds or nuts instead. You can season them with herbs or paprika to add some salty flavor to your snacks. If you crave potato chips, consider making homemade ones or try munching on beetroot or zucchini chips.
While some people don’t even remember about chocolate others are dying if they don’t have a piece. Chocolate often indicates magnesium deficiency, so if your chocolate cravings seem to never stop, boost your magnesium intake. Some examples of magnesium rich foods include nuts, seeds, avocado, legumes, tofu, whole grains, bananas and leafy greens. It’s also okay to have a piece of dark chocolate to satisfy your most intense cravings.
Do you crave candy, cakes, frosting, and other sugar-packed goodies? This is an alarming sign you’re experiencing fluctuations in the blood sugar. You might think one candy or small cake won’t do any harm to you, but have sweets on a regular basis and you’ll increase your risk of blood sugar spikes. High blood glucose levels can cause a serious harm to your blood vessels and lead to heart disease, diabetes, and other health disorders. Beat your sugar cravings with fruit or frozen berries (or sorbet made of them). They will help you stabilize your blood sugar without opting for calorie- and sugar-dense snacks.
Learning how to decode your cravings is essential for successful weight loss. Most importantly, it’s critical for your health. Before reaching for the food or drink you crave, consider these hunger decoding tips first. You’ll be astonished to know that your body actually craves something different.
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