Are your food cravings out of control? Find out why.
Updated: Sep 4
I can never forget those late evenings at work (with no one around to see!) when the cravings would hit me so hard that I would recklessly ravage the office kitchen. Unfortunately the catering firm supplied all kinds of highly cravable snacks : cheese pies, muffins, carrot cake, cookies, and croissants - you name it, they had it.
So I would end up stuffing my face to abandon. At times even having the savory pies AND the sweet tarts together. My inner craving monster knew no bounds, and it was especially active when I was PMSing.
Most women I know have at least at one point in their life experienced the irresistible urge to sink their teeth into a particular type of food - even when not really hungry.
But did you know that your cravings might actually be a sign of nutrient deficiencies or hormonal imbalances?
And by understanding and listening to your cravings, you can actually make better food choices in order to give your body what it needs.
How to stop the cravings by listening to your body.
Here is a list of some common food cravings and their possible root causes. Once you work to address the root cause, you will be able to bring things back into balance.
Chocolate - Magnesium deficiency
Magnesium is an essential mineral that helps your muscles contract and relax, which means it supports regular heartbeat, and could alleviate period cramps too. It is known as the anti-stress mineral.
Foods that contain magnesium include raw nuts and seeds. And if you are into that intense dark chocolate flavor, I dare you to try some plain cocoa beans!
PMS cravings - Zinc deficiency
Zinc deficiency, unfortunately, is quite prevalent. Zinc is another essential mineral that is absolutely critical for the proper functioning of your immune system. It also plays a key role in the production, transport and action of all hormones in your body.
Zinc rich foods include oysters, clams, mussels, and red meat - especially organ meat like liver. And let's not forget those dark leafy greens like spinach, kale and chard, which most of us don't usually consume on a daily basis!
Bread or toast - Nitrogen deficiency
Nitrogen is found only in high protein foods such as meat, fish, nuts and beans. If we are not eating enough protein, the body will have a negative nitrogen balance. Nitrogen is essential to life and a key element of DNA.
Carbs - Hormonal imbalances
If you are craving carbs and sweets - especially in the afternoon - it means you might have a problem with blood sugar regulation. And if you haven’t slept well, you are more likely to be hungrier in general. Lack of sleep has a double-whammy effect on your appetite: it increases levels of the hormone ghrelin, which triggers hunger signals, and decreases levels of the hormone leptin, which promotes satiation. Result - one sleepless night can turn you into a hungry tigress ready to pounce on anything in her sight. Grrrrrrrrr.
Salty foods - Adrenal fatigue
Craving salt could be a sign of adrenal fatigue , which usually comes about from chronic stress. The adrenal glands are not only the superstars of a healthy stress response, but also take part in balancing the levels of minerals in your body. So if the adrenals are not working properly, this could lead to a larger excretion of sodium and chloride, leaving you deficient.
In this case, you must work with a functional medicine or nutritional therapy practitioner to find a nutritional protocol that works for you.
By the way - the RESTART® program helps our participants combat these food cravings by introducing whole foods that nourish your body and improve your mood and energy levels.
If you would like to find out more about RESTART®, click here.