The human body is generally more aware of its condition than what the brain is, which often results in us misunderstanding what signs like food cravings really mean. So while trying not to give in to what might be the bad bacteria screaming for more processed foods, don’t completely ignore the fact that your cravings might be your body asking for a certain type of nutrition. So craving something salty doesn’t mean you should dive into the refined salt, and craving something sweet doesn’t mean you should grab a donut. We simply need to learn how to read the signs and act accordingly.
Blood Sugar Imbalance
Usually, an unbalanced blood sugar level is to blame when we crave something sweet. Which, ironically, is often caused by consuming high glycemic carbs and simple sugars. Basically, what happens is when we consume these naughties is our insulin spikes. This then results in two things. Firstly, it triggers a release of feel-good neurotransmitters, like dopamine and serotonin. And secondly, shortly after the spike, we experience a drop in blood sugar and the “happy” hormones. This ultimately leaves us with two emotions: Happiness when we consume sugar. Shortly followed by sadness and hunger when we don’t have sugar. So from the word go, try to avoid consuming these high glycemic carbs and simple sugars.
Functional Nutritionist, Dr. Jockers says “Balancing your blood sugar levels is critical to curbing your hankering for something sweet. Use natural sugar alternatives like stevia and monk fruit to sweeten foods”.
While the unnecessary consumption of sugary processed foods is generally the cause of a sweet craving. There is the possibility that your body might be asking you for chromium. Chromium is a mineral required by the human body in very small amounts, so a deficiency is unlikely. However, it does play a role in regulating metabolism and low levels of chromium have been linked to glucose intolerance, such as in diabetics.
So, other than avoiding consuming “naughty treats”, also try adding a few of these options to your diet:
- Raw onions
- Green beans
- Romaine lettuce
When you suddenly feel an urgent need to eat some salt and vinegar chips or popcorn. Or maybe even a salted caramel brownie. Stop and think about what it is that your body may be asking you for. Remove the focus on the processed food, close your eyes and try to imagine exactly what the flavour is that you are after. And if it turns out that it is simply something salty you are after, ask yourself what your energy levels feel like. Craving salt, combined with adrenal fatigue may mean that you are experiencing a bit of a trace mineral deficiency. And that your body needs a little extra micronutrition.
Instead of climbing into processed foods containing excess refined salts. Try nourishing your body with some mineral-dense options. Such as:
- Vegetable or bone broth
- Ghee or grass-fed butter
- Free-range, hormone-free eggs
- Dark green leafy vegetables, such as kale and spinach
- Wild-caught fish
- Fermented foods
Next time you feel a craving for something sweet or something salty, try to avoid diving for that quick fix which only serves to feed our need for a temporary and immediate mood regulator. Yet does not solve the innate health problem at hand. Rather open a line of communication with your body and ask it what it really wants. Then apply your knowledge and sustain your body accordingly. Ignoring the real reasons behind your food cravings won’t make your cravings less and will actually hinder your body’s healing abilities.