More often than not, our moods are the cause of our hankering for certain foods. For most, it’s chocolate, while potato chips and ice cream hit the spot for others. While cravings are something we all are prone to (hello, PMS!), could an insatiable yearning for a certain food be a sign of trouble?
There’s been plenty of talk linking specific food cravings to nutritional deficiencies in the body, while research shows that psychology also has a role to play in it. Either way, it can’t be good for your health if you have an excessive appetite for a single thing (even veg, of which you need a variety).
Find out which deficiencies your cravings could be a symptom of and whether a thorough health check is necessary.
If you crave sweet food:
You are either hooked on the sugar rush or in need of a mood boost. Sugar triggers the release of serotonin in the brain, a chemical neurotransmitter that stabilises and lifts the mood (it has even been studied as a treatment for depression). It could also be a symptom of PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) or Type 2 diabetes, due to insulin resistance caused by these health conditions.
If you crave starchy food:
Refined carbs also increase serotonin production in a similar way that sugary food does. If that plate of pasta or fried rice is looking extra tempting to you, your body is craving the same kick that sweet snacks provide — instant gratification and an energy rush.
If you crave salty food:
Our body needs salt (about three quarters of a teaspoon’s worth each day) to function properly, so never cut out sodium from your diet completely. It’s not uncommon to find yourself dreaming of chips and fries (or everything else that’s sinful and unhealthy) after a period of detoxing or dieting — it could mean that your body has a trace mineral deficiency.
If you crave chocolate:
If it’s specifically chocolate and not all types of sugary food that you are craving day after day, you may have a magnesium deficiency. Get your health checked if you frequently have muscle cramps, a poor appetite and persistent insomnia along with this constant craving.
If you crave ice:
You may have pica, a disorder in which one craves non-foods such as ice, and in some cases even paper and clay (no joke). This has been linked to an iron deficiency (which is common in women, due to loss of blood during the menstrual cycle), even though the reason for it remains unclear.
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