Everyone likes different types of food, but sudden cravings can actually tell you a lot about your body. Cravings usually occur when you are not truly hungry; instead, you might be bored and your brain decides that filling your body up with certain nutrients is a good a way to pass the time. Oftentimes, cravings occur when your body is trying to tell you that you are deficient in some sort of nutrients. Other times, cravings are a sign that your body is preparing to deal with future health concerns.
If you have lost a lot of sodium, then you might start craving salt. Excessive sweating and certain health concerns that affect how your body uses salt can all cause you to start looking for a salty snack. Additionally, reports show about 60% of men turn to salty snacks when they are feeling nervous or anxious. When you are stressed, your brain stimulates the release of cortisol, a hormone that can catalyze certain physiological responses to help you respond to the stress. Studies show that raising your sodium levels can help decrease the amount of cortisol in your body. Salt also can promote the production of oxytocin, a hormone that helps you manage stress by making you feel happier and more comfortable.
Stress due lack of sleep makes you even more likely to want a salty snack because sleep deprivation causes you to crave foods that to provide a high amount of shorter term satisfaction. Therefore, if you are craving salt, then it can definitely help you out if you are stressed. Just make sure that you do not eat too much it if you have high blood pressure. Additionally, you might want to stay away from salty snacks that can cause you to gain too much weight. A bag of potato chips, for example, is enough to stop your body from producing cortisol. However, it is also enough to make your waistline grow. You can stick to salted nuts or you can sprinkle salt on certain fruits and vegetables including cucumbers.
Chocolate has a number of healthy ingredients and your body might enjoy the effects of these nutrients so much that you start to feel the desire to eat a lot more chocolate. Usually, when men crave chocolate, is a sign that your body wants more magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is often overlooked. Few Americans have reported experiencing the symptoms, but studies show the vast majority of Americans are not getting enough magnesium from their diet. Magnesium deficiency can cause a couple of physiological problems with your bones, muscles, lungs, and heart. However, magnesium deficiency is also known to cause many mental health concerns, which might be part of the reason why chocolate is thought as a popular food among people with mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.
Chocolate has a relatively high amount of magnesium, so chocolate might be able to help you if you are deficient. Research shows chocolate is very healthy for you, especially dark chocolate. It can prevent diabetes, heart diseases, and depression. However, chocolate only provides these benefits when you eat it in moderation. Too much of it can lead to obesity and other serious health concerns. Therefore, if you are craving chocolate, try not to eat too much of it. You can also try ingesting cacao powder, which is the healthiest part of the chocolate. Alternatively, if you think you might be deficient in magnesium, you can find others sources of magnesium like certain nuts and vegetables.
Coffee cravings have a pretty obvious cause. When you become a regular coffee drinker, you can become dependent on the caffeine. Caffeine can act as a neurostimulant by bonding to certain receptors in your nervous system. Usually, these receptors bind to neurotransmitters that make you tired. However, when these neurotransmitters cannot bind to the receptors because the caffeine particles are in the way, you can combat fatigue. Too much caffeine can cause your body to crave the sensation of being more awake and focused. You might start to feel sluggish in the morning without your daily dose of coffee, which is a sign of caffeine withdrawal.
The best way to prevent coffee cravings is to slowly decrease the amount of coffee that you drink. Start by drinking decaf more often and see if that works. You also might want to skip coffee on days when you got adequate sleep or on days when you do not need to concentrate for work. However, if you do not want to reduce your coffee intake, your coffee cravings probably will not harm you. In fact, according to some studies, coffee is very healthy for you. Just make sure that you do not add too much creamer, whipped cream, and sugar. Otherwise, you might start to put on a few pounds. Additionally, too much caffeine can be toxic, so you definitely want to make sure that you do not overdose.
Sugar cravings occur for many reasons. Sometimes, when you do not eat enough food, you start to crave sugar so that your body can get access to easy fuel. Even when you do eat a lot of food, you can still crave fuel if your diet is low on fats and proteins. You use up your carbohydrates fast. Therefore, if you are eating a lot of carbs without any fats and proteins, you will quickly run out of fuel and start craving sugar in order to get access to more of it. Additionally, like salt cravings, sugar cravings are common if you are high in stress and low in sleep.
Sugar helps your body produce dopamine, which makes you feel good in response to stress. Unfortunately, sugar is usually the last thing you want to eat, especially processed sugars. If you have sugar craving, try to find a sweet fruit. Artificial sweeteners will not help because they make your body believe that you are about to eat sugar and your body will be very disappointed when it realizes that it is fake.
Cravings can make it difficult to maintain a well-balanced diet, so it is always a good idea to address the root cause of your cravings. Do not turn to food when you are bored, try to relieve yourself of stress, do not engage in poor sleep habits, and make sure your diet is not missing anything. If you do crave a certain nutrient, try to get it from the healthiest source possible.