The other day I woke up absolutely craving chocolate chip waffles with strawberries and whipped cream. I thought about them all day and by the end of the day I was still salivating over my imaginary waffles. What I hadn’t considered, instead of just my taste for chocolate chip waffles, was what my body might have been trying to tell me. When you crave a food, you probably ignore or have no idea, what your body is really trying to tell you about your health. Each food craving we have is a health signal our body is trying to tell us about. Here are a few common food cravings that could be saying something significant about your health.
Sugar & Sweets
One of the most common cravings, especially for women, is anything sweet or sugary snacks. Women often crave processed sugars when there’s an increase in hormone levels like when their period is coming. Chocolate has been shown to have special chemicals that improve your mood. Next time you’re in a bad mood and you’re craving chocolate, it could be your body’s way of trying to improve your sour mood.
Another craving cause is stress. Before a big day at work or an exam, you may notice you crave sweets more than usual. This is your brain’s way of helping your body relax and trying to ease some of the stress you feel.
One of the biggest reasons to crave salty snacks such as chips or pretzels is because you’re dehydrated. Salt helps your body retain water meaning that if you’re craving salt then you aren’t drinking enough water throughout your day.
If you’ve had a lot of ‘soft’ foods such as smoothies, yogurt, or soup them your body will crave a ‘crunchy’ food such as salty chips. After so many ‘soft’ food snacks, your jaw muscles and salivary glands need something to chew on which gives way to the salty snack craving you might be having.
If you’re dying for a juicy steak or a good ol’ fashion burger, then your body is probably telling you that you need more protein in your diet. You may be trying to eat healthy and cut down on red meat and substitute it for more veggies lately, but your body needs that protein as well, especially if you workout. Incorporating protein into your meals throughout the week will actually help you lose weight and keep your body healthy.
Another health reason why your body craves protein is an iron deficiency. For women, a heavy menstrual cycle could mean an iron deficiency which you can help eliminate by incorporating meat into your diet. Your body is just craving the essential nutrients it’s being denied.
Sometimes, when you crave cheese, your body is actually telling you it wants sugar. Cheese has natural milk sugars which your body knows that it needs. Most people think that cheese gives your body fat and protein, but it also provides your body with some essential sugars.
A cheese craving could also mean that your body needs calcium or vitamin D. If you don’t get a lot of sunlight then eating cheese is a good way for your body to replenish the vitamin D it is missing out on.
Eating fries on your lunch break from your favorite fast food place is delicious but it’s also your body’s way of warning you what it needs. While fried foods are a good health source, they do give you a temporary energy boost which you need if you’re sleep deprived. There are a number of things that can keep you from sleeping at night, but your body knows when it needs a temporary energy boost throughout the day. Fried food will do this but beware of the comedown!