Health

What Your Body Is Telling You If You Crave Certain Foods

By Jenna Cullman
·  4 min read
shutterstock 1645860871 (1)

Do you get cravings often? If so, it could be a sign of nutrient deficiencies in your diet or mental issues manifesting through your eating habits.

About 90% of people experience food cravings, but studies have shown that women tend to have more sweet cravings while men have more savory cravings. For women, cravings tend to arise during pregnancy, as well as the luteal and menstruation phases of their cycles. Different cravings relay different messages to the body, informing you of shortages in certain nutrients or hormonal changes. Understanding the difference between starchy, fatty, salty, sour, and sweet food cravings will not only empower you but also help you to be more in tune with your body and its needs. 

Types of Food Cravings 

Cravings aren’t necessarily bad because it’s your body’s way of letting you know it needs something. So listening and giving your body what it really needs can curb your cravings. 

Sweet Foods

Sweet cravings can mean your body’s blood sugar is low and in need of glucose for quick energy. Fruit or dark chocolate is not only delicious, but can help alleviate those sweet cravings. This will help you fight off the urge to grab a few of those donuts at work.

Salty Foods

Have you been sweating a lot? Sweating can result in dehydration and low electrolytes, making you crave salty foods. Feeling tired and adrenal fatigue are symptoms of a lack of sodium. Adding some salt to your morning oatmeal or eggs, eating a handful of salted nuts, or adding more salt to your steak can all help reduce the craving for salty foods.

Feeling tired and adrenal fatigue are symptoms of a lack of sodium.

Oily or Fatty Foods

Been craving a greasy cheeseburger? Not consuming enough essential fatty acids can make you crave that cheeseburger and fries. Eggs, olive oil, salmon, and nuts will help replenish these levels.

Carbohydrates or Starchy Foods 

Dreaming about loading up your plate with some pasta and delicious garlic bread? A lack of magnesium and fiber makes these cravings more common. Lots of fruit and vegetables are high in both, like bananas, dark leafy greens, grapefruit, apples, broccoli, and dark chocolate.

Sour Foods

Having a longing for sour food is a sign you may be suffering from gut health issues or an imbalance of acid in your stomach. Try adding some lemon to your water in the morning. Watermelon and citrus fruits can also help bring your gut into a more balanced state.

Other Causes of Food Cravings

Sometimes cravings aren’t as simple as your body saying Hey, you, eat some more salt! Sometimes they point to something else, like your lifestyle. 

Mental and Emotional Distress

Going through a difficult time can not only raise your stress levels, but can also change your eating habits for the worst. When you’re stressed, sad, or bored, food is easy to reach for as a comfort or coping mechanism. But we all know eating our weight in chocolate doesn’t actually solve the problem. Instead, seek authentic, healthier coping mechanisms for your mental and emotional health, including striving to eat healthily. Properly managing your stress will only benefit you in the end.

When you’re stressed, sad, or bored, food is easy to reach for as a comfort or coping mechanism.

Our Habits

What we eat the most, we will crave the most. Do you like to snack on potato chips and M&Ms while binge-watching your favorite tv show every night at 9 p.m. before bed? Do you crave these snacks whenever the clock strikes 9 o’clock or when your tv show is playing? Well, you may have wired your brain to associate that time and tv show with eating those things. Our habits form our everyday lives, including what we eat. 

A Bad Gut Makes You a “Serotonin Junky”

Your “feel good” hormone, serotonin, is transported through the gastrointestinal tract, so when your gut is malfunctioning, this lack in serotonin can leave us feeling depressed. This can lead you down a path of intense cravings. In an attempt to raise serotonin levels, you may start eating more highly palatable, sweet foods. Fermented foods, such as kimchi, and probiotic rich foods, such as yogurt, will aid your gut healthy bacteria.

Closing Thoughts

Not all cravings are bad, and indulging in the occasional cookie isn’t going to make you gain weight. Listening to your body’s cues and maintaining a balanced diet are the keys to curbing cravings. 

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