Health: Food Crav­ings

Are crav­ings re­spon­si­ble for half of the Scot­tish pop­u­la­tion be­ing over­weight? We re­veal why your body craves cer­tain foods and how you can avoid them

No. 1 Magazine - - CONTENTS -

It’s no secret that crav­ings can be par­tic­u­larly strong dur­ing preg­nancy. How­ever, even if you’re not ex­pect­ing, it’s still com­pletely nor­mal to ex­pe­ri­ence a long­ing for spe­cific foods or food groups. It’s im­por­tant to ac­knowl­edge that crav­ings can be linked to a num­ber of dif­fer­ent psy­cho­log­i­cal rea­sons, but they can also be an in­di­ca­tion that your body is low in a spe­cific vi­ta­min or nu­tri­ent. Hav­ing said this, overeat­ing is an is­sue in Scot­land, so here's ev­ery­thing you need to know about crav­ings and how not to give in...

Choco­late

Sadly, crav­ing this type of sweet treat is not an in­di­ca­tion that your body has a choco­late de­fi­ciency. In fact, it may mean that your body is lack­ing in a min­eral that is vi­tal for healthy skin and hair, mag­ne­sium. Choco­late is high in mag­ne­sium and could there­fore in­di­cate that your lev­els of the min­eral are low. Stud­ies also show that mag­ne­sium lev­els will drop in the sec­ond half of your men­strual cy­cle, which is of­ten the rea­son women crave choco­late dur­ing this time. If you find your­self crav­ing choco­late more of­ten than not, try swap­ping your nor­mal bar for a few pieces of dark choco­late as it con­tains less su­gar and calo­ries.

Car­bo­hy­drates

Do you feel like the foods you can’t stop think­ing about are gen­er­ally bread, pasta and pota­toes and any other carb-filled meals you can get your hands on? This could ac­tu­ally mean you lack ni­tro­gen in your diet (found in high pro­tein foods like meat, fish, nuts or beans). Peo­ple of­ten crave this food group when they’re try­ing to cut carbs from their diet com­pletely, which is never a healthy idea! To con­quer this crav­ing try some­thing like a turkey burger or snack­ing on a hand­ful of nuts. It's im­por­tant to make sure that you’re eat­ing ev­ery food group in mod­er­a­tion.

Caf­feine

Whether you’re crav­ing cof­fee or caf­feine via fizzy drinks, this could be your body telling you that it’s de­hy­drated. In­stead of opt­ing for a cap­puc­cino or a glass of cola, try to en­sure you’re get­ting the rec­om­mended eight to 10 glasses of water a day in or­der to keep you hy­drated. This crav­ing can also be a sign that you’re lack­ing in salt and iron. To tackle a salt crav­ing try eat­ing tomato, cel­ery or olives, and when it comes to up­ping iron lev­els, opt for more red meat.

Fried foods

Con­stant crav­ings for fried foods can mean your body is cry­ing out for healthy fats, es­pe­cially if you’ve been try­ing to cut fat com­pletely from your diet in a bid to lose weight. Healthy fats are found in things such as av­o­ca­dos and cashew nuts, and can help you lose ex­cess fat from your body. Also, omega-3 fatty acids have been proven to lower the risk of ill­nesses, such as heart dis­ease and arthri­tis, so it’s im­por­tant that you’re in­clud­ing these in your diet. To in­ject more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, try raw wal­nuts, wild sal­mon and flaxseed oil.

Sug­ary snacks

Reach­ing for the sweetie jar or other sug­ary snacks on a reg­u­lar ba­sis can be linked to stress. How­ever, re­searchers claim that crav­ing su­gar ul­ti­mately comes down to sleep. It’s no secret that feel­ing stressed can re­sult in a poor sleep, which can cause chaos with your hor­mones and leave you crav­ing high-calo­rie, sug­ary food and drink, like sweets and en­ergy drinks. To sat­isfy your sweet tooth with­out go­ing over­board with the su­gar, try opt­ing for some­thing like frozen grapes or a few straw­ber­ries dipped in some dark choco­late.

Dairy

Are you in con­stant need of milk, cheese, ice-cream or pizza? This is prob­a­bly your body try­ing to tell you that it needs more cal­cium. Cheese, milk and other dairy foods are a great source of cal­cium and vi­ta­min D, and it’s not un­com­mon to lack these nu­tri­ents, es­pe­cially in the winter months. In or­der to soak up cal­cium, your body needs vi­ta­min D, so if sun ex­po­sure isn’t an op­tion then try some vi­ta­min D tablets and then in­tro­duce more dairy into your diet, but it's im­por­tant you don't go over­board as too much dairy can be fat­ten­ing.

TOP TIP Drink up!

Re­search shows that 80 per cent of peo­ple are chron­i­cally de­hy­drated. So rather than reach­ing for a quick fix, try drink­ing a pint of water and then wait half an hour – the chances are that your crav­ing may have gone.

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