We’ve all been there. The day has been going just fine and all of a sudden your mind begins to wander to thoughts of chocolate, tonnes of chocolate, so much chocolate that you’re going to be sick. This is just one of those cravings that can come to haunt us during the day and if you are trying to eat better or lose some weight, they can really spell trouble.
Beating cravings is perhaps one of the most difficult things to do when changing your diet but fear not. We have some information on why those cravings occur and the best ways to beat them by swapping out other foods. However, we are not qualified doctors here in the Her.ie offices (hard to believe, we know) so if the craving is causing issues you may want to talk to your local GP.
What is causing the craving: Craving chocolate may mean that you have a magnesium deficiency. As you may already know, women crave chocolate particularly around the time they get their period which some researchers believe is due to a craving for magnesium. Lack of this important mineral can cause fatigue, depression, insomnia in some cases, anxiety, migraines among other conditions.
How to prevent the craving: Well, it doesn’t involve eating large amounts of chocolate but you might just curb that craving with nuts like almonds which are a little sweeter (be careful, they can be heavy on calories), seeds, veggies and fruits. Fish can also be a handy substitute. Also, giving in to the craving can create a cycle of constantly eating that food. If you cut it out, after a while you won’t even know it’s gone. BE STRONG! If you really do need to go for the chocolate, try some dark chocolate, it’s better for you.
2. Salty Foods (particularly crisps)
What is causing the craving: If you are craving salt and things that are a little crunchy like crisps this can often mean stress is taking a toll on your body. It can also suggest a sign of exhaustion. The stress is taking a toll on the adrenal glands above your kidneys and possibly causing the cravings.
How to prevent the craving: Get more sleep! This particular craving is often associated with people living a hectic lifestyle so slow it down and relax. If you have to have some food, you might swap for some homemade sweet potato chips, popcorn or even some nuts. Drink plenty of water to give you the feeling that you are full. Hunger pangs can often mean you are simply dehydrated.
3. Red Meat.
What is causing the craving: Well, no shockers here. If you are craving red meat, it could possibly mean you have an iron deficiency. There really isn’t much else to it, you need to stock up on your iron.
How to prevent the craving: Stock up on your green vegetables! Beans, legumes, dried fruits (be careful, they can be high in sugar) and figs can also help here. On top of that, try to include more protein in your diet, particularly if you are a veggie. Foods like eggs come in handy here.
4. Sweet things!
What is causing the craving: If you find yourself willing to kill for a packet of jellies, it may be a sign that you are lacking chromium which is a mineral that balances your blood sugar levels. If the craving is specifically for cake (we know, we have cake cravings all the time too) than it may be because of a lack of Zinc in the diet. Zinc controls your appetite and is linked to the hunger hormone.
How to prevent the craving: Nuts, broccoli (exciting) fruit (cherries are a good cheat, although watch the sugar) chicken or indeed get some supplements!
5. Fizzy drinks.
What is causing the craving: Fizzy drinks are basically the work of the devil. They can strip bones of calcium causing you to crave the drinks like crazy. Although the theory hasn’t been entirely proven, it is widely believed. On top of that, those drinks can cause exceptional problems for your stomach and can be full of secret sugars. Diet drinks are full of carcinogens so if you are going to treat yourself to a soda, you are better off having the full fat equivalent and avoid the diet. It’s just not good for you.
How to prevent the craving: Eat some foods that are high in calcium like low-fat dairy products, cheese and yoghurts, green vegetables and just swap for water. Either that or try some sparkling fruit water. Believe us, they are not helping you at all.