Everyone gets food cravings, no matter how clean and healthy we try to eat. Although the lines between hunger and cravings are often blurred, it is important to be able to step away from the ice cream when we are eating as a result of our moods. When we are feeling energetic, happy, or relaxed, we tend to eat healthier and lighter foods, such as fresh fruit. When we are depressed, angry, or bored, we tend to indulge in chocolate, chips, and cakes.
There is a chemical reaction when it comes to cravings. For example, chocolate contains the feel-good chemical phenylethylamine, which triggers feelings of pleasure and romantic love. A combination of l-typtophan and carbohydrates, which is found in foods like ice cream and pizza, stimulates the production of serotonin. The result is feelings of happiness.
However, cravings also tell us what nutrients we are lacking. You can conquer cravings by consuming the healthy alternative so that you don’t fall off of track with you health and nutrition goals.
For example, when we need comfort, we often crave breads and pasta. This cravings is also our body tell us that you need nitrogen that can be found in high protein foods, including: meat, fish, beans, and nuts.
The chocolate craving is tell you that you need magnesium. Put down the brownies and instead eat fruits, raw nuts, and legumes. Still have a sweet tooth? Eat broccoli, chicken, grapes, or cheese, because your body is lacking chromium, carbon, phosphorus, or sulfur.
Eat fish and unrefined sea salt products when your mouth waters for something salty. PMSing has you wanting to eat everything? Your body needs zinc, which can be found in red meat, seafood, and leafy veggies. For over overeating habits, your body is lacking: silicon, which is found in seeds, tryptophan, which is found in sweet potatoes, and tyrosine, which is found in oranges.
Trying to kick your soda habit? Don’t give into temptation and instead turn to turnips, kale, sesame, and mustard for the calcium.
Try making healthy choices as early as breakfast—or that pre-work workout—in order to continue to make healthy choices throughout the day. Whenever you have an intense food craving, first identify if you are emotionally eating or truly hungry and then fuel your body with what it needs.