Updated: Dec 27, 2022
A lot of us have a specific craving whether it be sweet or savoury. The majority of us don't realise that this is our bodies cry for help that we are lacking in a particular mineral or nutrient.
I thought I'd put a list together of what your body could be crying out for.
Chocolate - Magnesium.
Magnesium not only can support the immune system by preventing inflammation but it also plays a crucial role in balancing the nervous system and easing anxiety Foods that are rich in magnesium include dark leafy greens, raw or cooked baby spinach or kale for example. Nuts and seeds, including almonds, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pine nuts, flaxseed and pecans are also a good source, and make a good afternoon snack.
Incorporating wild salmon, tuna and mackerel into your diet is another good way of adding more magnesium to your daily menu at least once a week.
Stodgy Carbs - Tryptophan
For those of us who long for bread, pasta, potatoes - basically any carbs we can get out hands on - this could be a sign the body is lacking an essential amino acid, trytophan.
The body uses it to synthesise the chemical serotonin, which regulates moods.
It plays a crucial role in sleep and wake cycles as well as digestion.
A lack of serotonin can lead to low mood and anxiety. Instead of reaching for stodgy carbs, think about upping the amount of protein in your diet can help you. Turkey, eggs, bananas and walnuts are all rich in tryptophan.
Meat - Iron & Zinc
Iron plays a vital role in supporting the immune system, as it helps to transport oxygen throughout the body. Without it, we become fatigued and tired. While craving meat is a sign of iron deficiency, it can also indicate the body is lacking in Zinc.
Zinc plays an important role in the immune system - so low levels will make a person more susceptible to suffering colds and flu.
Zinc is also vital for strong hair and nails and healthy skin.
Red meat is the best source, but shellfish, lentils, spinach, pumpkin seeds, cheese and wholemeal bread are all good sources of zinc.
Salt - Sodium
Craving salty foods is a sign that sodium levels in the body are too low. It is usually due to dehydration, after exercise, illness or drinking alcohol. Sodium is an important mineral that helps maintain water balance in the body and regulates blood pressure.
You can quickly replenish sodium by snacking on salted popcorn, which is naturally high in sodium.
You can also find small amounts of this mineral in celery and carrots, which should help your craving.
Anything Sweet - Chromium
As a person eats, their blood sugar levels surge and insulin is released. If you're eating refined sugar and carbohydrates they will hit your bloodstream fast and cause an imbalance in blood sugar.
Your body will release more insulin to deal with this rapid rise in blood sugar. Once dealt with, the blood sugar levels will drop, but because you've generated the release of so much insulin, the levels will drop too low and you will soon feel like snacking on a bar of chocolate, or something else sweet.
The more sweets you eat, the more you will crave them - it is a catch 22.
Try to eat broccoli, oats, green beans, tomatoes or foods with barley in them to try to avoid these cravings.
I hope this might give you an insight to our snacking habits!