What Your Cravings Mean

What Your Cravings Mean
What Your Cravings Mean

As I mentioned in my previous post there are many reasons for cravings, one of the reasons being one or more nutritional deficiencies. The information below is a list of potential deficiencies. A craving does not indicate that a craving definitely signals a deficiency. However, it is advisable to determine if you are eating enough food that contains a particular nutrient. If you are concerned that a persistent craving could be a result of a deficiency and you are seeing no improvement in your symptoms consider seeing a naturopathic doctor or doctor that is knowledgeable in integrative and nutritional medicine. Supplementing with pills needs to be approached with caution–especially minerals. Always try to obtain the required nutrients from food sources first.

Remember that when you experience a craving or feel hungry consider that your body may actually be thirsty. Your brain often misinterprets thirst for hunger.

Specific Food Cravings

1) Chocolate

Possible Deficiency

1. Magnesium (80% of us are deficient especially women who are still menstruating)

Sources: Nuts, seeds, fish, dark leafy greens

2) Bread/Toast

Possible Deficiencies

1. Nitrogen

Sources: High protein foods such as fish, nuts, meats, legumes (vegetarians or vegans who are not getting enough protein tend to have cravings for sweets)

2. Chromium  (particularly if you are craving pastas, pastries and other sweets)

Sources: Onion, romaine lettuce, tomato, cinnamon, grapes, apples, sweet potato
** Craving bread can also be a sign of an underactive or overactive thyroid

3) Chewing Ice

Craving ice is your body’s way of dealing with the inflammation and pain that is caused by anemia.

Possible Deficiencies

1. Iron

Sources: Meat, fish, poultry, seaweed, greens, black cherries

*Consider B12 levels as well since B12 is essential for absorption.

4) Red Meat

Possible Deficiencies

1. Iron

Sources: Meat fish poultry eggs, cherries, figs, spinach (Vitamin C for absorption of plant based iron sources)

2. B12

Sources: Organic beef liver, shellfish, salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring, red meat (beef), eggs

5) Cheese (or pizza)

Possible Deficiencies  

1. Essential Fatty Acids

Sources: Flax oil, ground flax, chia seeds, walnuts, tahini, oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines etc.)

2. Calcium

Sources: Broccoli, kale, legumes, almonds, sesame seeds, tahini

6) Popcorn

As was the case with myself this can actually be a result of an allergy if your cravings tend to lean to the side of addiction (feeling like you have no control about saying ‘no’ to this food)

Popcorn cravings can be a ‘comfort food’ or it could be a result of fluctuations in stress hormones (tired adrenals). Increase your vitamin C (citrus, apples, red and yellow peppers, dark leafy greens) and B vitamins (vegetables and whole grains).

Flavors/ Food Types

1) Sweets

This could be caused by eating excess carbs which cause blood sugar fluctuations. You might also be deficient in one or several of the following nutrients.

Possible Deficiencies

1.Nitrogen

Sources: High protein foods –fish, nuts, meats, legumes (vegetarians or vegans who are not getting enough protein tend to have cravings for sweets)

2.Chromium

Sources: Broccoli, grapes, cheese, dried beans, chicken

3.Carbon

Sources: Fresh fruit

4.Phosphorous

Sources: Whole grains, chicken, beef, eggs, dairy,  pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, lentils

5.Sulfur

Sources: Cabbage, onion, garlic, egg yolk, cranberries, asparagus, horseradish, cruciferous vegetables, kale

6.Tryptophan

Sources: Cheese, pumpkin, sesame/sunflower seeds, oatmeal, turkey, raisins

2) Salty Foods

Possible Deficiency

1.Chloride

Sources: Goat milk, Olives, Tomatoes, Kelp, Himalayan sea salt, fish

**Salt cravings can also be a result of a lack in sodium (especially after excessive exercise). However, this is usually rare in our society due to our high sodium intake. Salt cravings may also mean that your adrenals are stressed. Your adrenals are what provides you with energy and enables you to manage stress. Acute or chronic stress causes your body to release cortisol which can also trigger cravings for white carbs and fat which your body can easily convert into energy. Succumbing to these cravings is not the answer. Eating bad fats and white carbs will give you a temporary blood sugar spike, but in the long run you are in fact further exhasuting your adrenals.

3) Acidic Food

Possible Deficiency 

1.Magnesium

Sources: Whole grains, beans, nuts seeds, greens, fruit

4) Oily Snacks, Fatty Foods

Possible Deficiency

1.Calcium

Sources: Broccoli, kale, legumes, almonds, sesame seeds, tahini

2.Essential Fatty Acids or other fats

Sources: Flax oil, ground flax, chia seeds, walnuts, tahini, oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines etc.), nut butters, avocados

5) Spicy Food

Your body may be having a hard time cooling down and you may be craving this to help your body perspire. Some research has shown that the rush associated with spicy food can be addictive because of the increased heart rate, blood sugar spike and increased breathing.

6) Burned Food

Possible Deficiency

1.Carbon

Sources: Fresh fruits

Beverages

1) Coffee/Tea

Possible Deficiencies

1.Sulfur
Sources: Cabbage, onion, garlic, egg yolk, cranberries, asparagus, horseradish, cruciferous vegetables, kale

2.Phosphorous
Sources: Whole grains, chicken, beef, eggs, dairy,  pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, lentils

3.NaC1 (Salt)
Sources: Himalayan or Celtic sea salt, apple cider vinegar

**Caffeine – If you crave or need large amounts of caffeine throughout the day there may be a far more serious problem than the desire for the standard American ‘fix’. Your adrenals may be fatigued or even exhausted depending on the severity. If you think you may be suffering from this problem see a naturopath or holistic doctor or other health care professional who is trained in integrative medicine.

2) Soda/ Carbonated Beverages

Possible Deficiency

1.Calcium

Sources: Kale, broccoli, sesame, tahini, legumes, mustard and turnip greens

3) Preference for liquids than solids

This obviously means you are dehyrated. You need to drink a tleast 8 glasses of water a day.

4) Preference for solids than liquids

You have been dehydrated so long that your body has lost its thirst.

5) Cold Drinks

Possible Deficiency

1. Manganese

Sources: Blueberries, pineapple, walnuts, almonds

6) Alcohol

Obviously craving alcohol can the result of alcoholism or if you are craving it more than usual and you are certain you do not have a problem with substance abuse then you may be deficient in one or several of the following nutrients. If you are a recovering alcoholic the following nutrients are also used by holistic practitioners to aid in lessening the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Possible Deficiency

1.Calcium
Sources: Broccoli, kale, legumes, almonds, sesame seeds, tahini

2.Protein
Sources: Meat, diary, nuts, seeds, lentils, legumes

3.Avenin
Sources: Granola, oatmeal

4.Glutamine (especially helpful for withdrawal)
Sources: Bone broth, supplement, raw cabbage juice, beetroot, beans, spinach, parsley

5. Potassium
Sources: Citrus fruits, banana, pineapple, avocado, black olives

Appetite

1) General Overeating

Possible Deficiencies

1.Silicon
Sources: Horsetail herb, nuts, seeds, oats, millet, barley, onions, whole wheat, beetroot. Avoid refined starches.

2. Tyrosine
Sources: Seaweed, fava beans, chicken, edamame beans, mustard greens, egg white, cottage cheese, salmon, turkey, oatmeal

3. Tryptophan
Sources: Cheese, pumpkin, sesame/sunflower seeds, oatmeal, turkey, raisins, chicken breast

2) Lack of Appetite

Possible Deficiency

1. B1
Sources: Nuts, seeds, liver, organ meats, liver

2. B3
Sources: Tuna, halibut, beef, chicken, turkey, pork, seeds, legumes

3. Manganese
Sources: Blueberries, pineapple, walnuts, almonds

4. Chloride (Most of us get plenty of salt in our diet so be careful with this one)
Sources; Raw goat milk, sea salt, tomatoes, lettuce, celery, olives, rye

3) Constant Snacking

Do a detox. Eat clean to ensure you are not missing nutrients. Avoid sugar, white rice, pasta and bread. Avoiding sugars helps immensely to curb cravings.

4) Pre-menstrual Cravings

Possible Deficiencies

1. Zinc

Sources: Red meats, organ meats, eggs, seafood, dark leafy greens

2. B6

Sources: Turkey, chicken, salmon, banana, sweet potato, sunflower seeds, spinach

Other

Tobacco

Possible Deficiencies

1. Silicon

Sources: Horsetail herb, nuts, seeds, oats, millet, barley, onions, whole wheat, beetroot. Avoid refined starches.

2. Tyrosine

Sources: Seaweed, fava beans, chicken, edamame beans, mustard greens, egg white, cottage cheese, salmon, turkey, oatmeal

The best way to manage cravings is to ensure you are getting all of your required nutrients by eating a wholesome, colorful diet rich in protein, fruits, vegetables and 100% whole grains. A healthy diet, regular exercise and positive stress relievers are the best way to avoid being a slave to your taste buds or brain.

One thought on “What Your Cravings Mean

Leave a Reply