Let’s face it – You don’t have to be pregnant to know what it’s like to crave salty potato chips or sweet ice cream. The fact of the matter is that everyone has a craving now and then. But did you know your cravings might actually mean something?
Usually, when we crave a certain food, it’s because our body is telling us it needs a specific nutrient. You can go ahead and give into that craving to satisfy your body, but it’s important to know why you are craving a certain food and then choose the healthier alternative. Your system, and your waistline, will thank you for choosing the healthy way out.
Craving Salty Snacks
If you are craving potato chips or French fries, you need something salty. This is likely your body’s way of telling you that you are low on essential minerals. A low-calcium diet often leads to salt cravings. Salt tricks your body into believing that calcium levels are high enough.
Instead of the salt, reach for dairy. Drink a glass of milk or eat a slice of cheese. You’ll give your body the calcium you need instead of tricking it into thinking it’s satisfied.
Craving Sweet Treats
For some people, all you have to do is say the word “chocolate” and their mouth waters until a pound of chocolate has been consumed. When we crave sweets, it’s usually because of our mood. In many cases, we are sad when we crave sweets. Ever have a really tough day and the only thing that will console you is a big cupcake? That’s because when we are sad we want a quick mood lift. Our body wants to release serotonin, which you can get when you eat sweets.
If you really must have that chocolate, opt for dark chocolate. This variety contains antioxidants, which are needed to stay healthy. Or better yet, instead of eating the chocolate, go out for a walk or a bike ride. The exercise is much more likely to give you long-term mood benefits, whereas the treats will only make you feel better for a moment.
Craving a Spicy Kick
When your body is overheated, you crave the spicy foods that make you perspire. Your body wants to cool down and spicy food can help do that. Some studies suggest that people who crave spicy foods are addicted to the accelerated heart rate and rapid breathing that comes from really spicy Thai food or Mexican favorites. It’s the adrenaline rush you’re actually craving, not the food itself.
Again, go exercise to help you get the rush you need. Your body will perspire, which will help cool you down. Plus, you’re getting your heart rate up, which helps with the adrenaline craving.
When you apply these tips you can cut out a bunch of empty calories and increase your intake of healthy vitamins and minerals. You will feel healthier and look better, which everyone can agree is a good thing!