Have you ever experienced cravings for something sweet or salty? Yeah. We are all familiar with these intense desires for specific foods. And usually we feel guilty after satisfying our hunger for unhealthy snacks. Well, there is always a rational reason for these cravings and it’s good to find it in order to better understand your body and give it what it really needs.
Dr Christy Fergusson has studied this issue and her findings reveal that every desire for junk food has its healthy substitute.
A problem faced by almost everyone is the desire for sweet. But eating chocolate bars or cakes simply serves to send us on a blood sugar rollercoaster – which means we ride high and then crash soon after.
The body needs a steady and even source of glucose for energy. Therefore, Dr Fergusson recommends eating strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries every three to four hours. These fruits contain fructose which are released slowly into the blood stream. Eating them regularly will keep your moods consistent and energy levels steady throughout the day. Fresh berries are also loaded with antioxidants and are great food for the brain. They boost your energy without escalating your blood sugar levels.
Dr Fergusson further reveals that the craving for salty foods indicates a lack of minerals. The body needs calcium, magnesium, and zinc to stay healthy. If you are deficient in any of these you will think you want salt, she explains.
The solution is to consume Himalayan pink salt instead of salty nuts or crisps. It’s also very important to drink enough water.
During the dark winter months the lack of sunlight leaves most of us deficient in the “happy” hormone serotonin, which we try to compensate with carbs.
Refined carbohydrates, such as white rice and white bread, escalates our blood sugar levels causing amino acids to leave the cells, while the tryptophan gets a free ride across the blood stream. This happens because refined carbs are often nutrient-deficient and lack the building blocks we need to create serotonin. So after the carbs’ initial effect, the body stays hungry.
To provide enough serotonin without spiking your blood sugar levels, eat turkey, fish, chicken, quinoa, nuts and seeds. They supply your body with amino acids including tryptophan. You should also avoid serotonin sabotages such as caffeine, nicotine, and artificial sweeteners.
And speaking of coffee… If the cup of coffee is just part of your morning routine it’s all right. But if you really need it and can’t imagine starting your day without it then you may need catecholamines, such as adrenaline and dopamine, to boost your energy. In particular, your body needs tyrosine, which supports the production of catecholamines. You could increase your intake of tyrosine through foods such as bananas, meats, fish, eggs and nuts.
Oh, and that delicious cheese? Yes, even the excessive consumption of cheese may be a sign of an essential fatty acid deficiency. These are good fats which the body can’t produce itself – omega 3 and omega 6. To deal with this craving you should eat nuts and seeds, as well as oily fish such as tuna, salmon and trout.