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Your food cravings de-coded

Your food cravings de-coded

You get home from a long day and all you want is a bowl of ice cream. It’s a week before your period and you can’t stop thinking about chocolate. You’ve just had a sweaty session at the gym and you’d kill for something salty like chips. Or perhaps it’s any other plethora of things. Regardless of what the craving is, I’m betting that we’ve all experienced them before! Sometimes, cravings are minor. Sometimes, cravings feel so intense that they’re all you can think about, you may feel unable to function without said craving, or you may feel a complete lack of control.

Cravings are often an indicator that something else is going on, and nutritional deficiencies are often the underlying cause. Other possible causes include microbial imbalance, hormonal imbalance, fatigue, emotional eating and more. Of course, we’re all completely individual – what a craving may mean for one person will not mean the same thing for another person. However, there are certainly key players when it comes to food cravings and nutritional deficiencies.

De-Code your cravings

Here are some common (and not so common) food cravings, what nutritional deficiencies they may indicate, and foods that are rich in these nutrients.
If you crave: Chocolate
You may be deficient in: Magnesium
Here are some magnesium-rich food sources:
– Raw unsalted nuts and seeds
– Legumes
– Wholegrains – e.g. brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa
– Avocado
– Potato with skins

If you crave: Sugar (e.g. lollies, ice cream)
You may be deficient in: Serotonin (especially if your cravings are in the evening)
Here are some serotonin-rich food sources:
– Cheese
– Turkey
– Spinach
– Brown rice
– Peanuts
– Pumpkin
– Lentils

Or you may be deficient in: Complex carbohydrates
Here are some complex carbohydrate food sources:
– Wholegrains
– Legumes
– Vegetables
– Fruits

Or you may be deficient in: Chromium
Here are some chromium-rich food sources:
– Beef
– Broccolli
– Carrots
– Green beans
– Potato

Sugar cravings may also indicate microbial imbalance. Book in with one of our team for further support.

If you crave: Carbohydrates (e.g. bread, pasta)
You may be deficient in serotonin (again, especially if your cravings are in the evening) or complex carbohydrates. Refer to the sugar section above for foods that may help.

If you crave: Salty foods
You may be deficient in: Chloride
Here are some chloride-rich food sources:
– Seafood
– Unrefined sea salt
– Raw goat milk

Salty food cravings may also indicate magnesium deficiency. Check out the chocolate section above for foods that are rich in magnesium.

If you crave: Fatty / oily foods (e.g. deep fried foods)
You may be deficient in: Essential fatty acids
Here are some essential fatty acid food sources:
– Oily fish – e.g. wild caught Alaskan salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines
– Raw unsalted nuts and seeds
– Dark leafy greens

If you crave: Carbonated drinks
You may be deficient in: Calcium
Here are some calcium-rich sources:
– Tinned salmon or sardines (including the bones)
– Tofu
– Soy milk
– Legumes
– Tahini

If you crave: Ice, dirt, clay or meat

You may be deficient in: Iron
Here are some iron-rich sources:
– Meat, seafood and poultry
– Seaweed
– Dark leafy greens
– Red kidney beans
– Black strap molasses
– Dried apricots
– Almonds
Generally, by enjoying a diet rich in wholefoods, you’ll be on your way to supplying your body with various nutrients that it needs. If you experience a certain craving often (e.g. fatty oily foods), try including alternatives in your daily diet that are rich in the nutrients the craving indicates (e.g. oily fish, dark leafy greens). The same goes when you’re in the middle of a craving – next time you’re craving chocolate, for example, reach for a small handful of raw unsalted nuts instead.

However, as I said above, we’re all completely unique human beings. The above is a general guide, but what a certain craving means for one person may be different to another person. There may also be more complex issues at play, including nutrient malabsorption or disordered eating. If you have any questions or if you’d like to book an appointment, please get in contact with me here. (As a final semester student nutritionist, all treatments are fully supervised by Daniela). I’d love to hear from you and help!

Nina x