Are you obsessing about one food type?...
Are you obsessing about one food type? Are you craving chocolate, or carbohydrates? Well, there could be a reason behind this, and I’m going to talk you through some of these;
If you’re craving chocolate, this could mean you are deficient in magnesium. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is high in this essential mineral. Magnesium is used vital for the proper working of our muscles including the heart muscle. It is also essential for building strong bones and controlling blood pressure and blood sugar balance. Deficiency impacts the body’s ability to function properly, causing a variety of symptoms including migraine, fatigue, anxiety, Poor sleep, irregular heartbeat and poor concentration. A surefire way to tell if you have a deficiency is by noticing frequent spasms in the muscle (eye twitches) and/or restless leg syndrome.
Tip; Have a square or two of dark chocolate. Other healthy foods rich in magnesium include dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds. Or try a supplement – oral magnesium can upset the stomach, so taking it transdermally (through the skin) can be a better bet. Try BetterYou Magnesium Oil Spray (£12.20) and see if your chocolate cravings subside. Alternatively you can soak in the bath with a cup full of magnesium flakes or Epsom salts for 20 minutes, three times a week.
Craving Junk food
Craving junk food could mean that you’re not getting enough sleep. Research has shown that people who sleep well are more likely to make healthy food choices,. There has been a direct link between lack of sleep and fast-food cravings. Salty, fat laden junk food have been known to be the food of choice for sleep deprived people.
Tip; Try turning off all blue light on TV, tablets or smartphones at least one hour before bedtime.
If you’re craving steak this could mean your low in iron and that the body needs help transporting oxygen around the body. Usually beef, lamb or pork are rich in this vital material, but with the increasing vegetarians in the country, beans, lentils, nuts, dried fruits and dark green leafy vegetables are other decent sources.
Tip; Eat two portions of organic meat a week, or eat plenty of daily beans, lentils, dark green leafy veg ect
Craving White bread
If you are craving white bread, this could mean that you’re suffering from low mood. The amino acid tryptophan is found in higher levels in bread, Pasta, potatoes or any other white carbohydrates. The body uses tryptophan to make the Happy hormones serotonin, which also regulates sleep patterns as well as moods. A low level of serotonin can lead to depression and anxiety. Unfortunately these white carbs are also high in sugar and send the blood sugar levels rocketing.
Tip; instead of reaching for the white carbs, try brown or whole-grain varieties. Try to also include plenty of chicken, turkey, eggs, bananas and walnuts in your diet – all of which are rich in tryptophan.
Craving water sounds like the obvious, dehydration, however there is a more serious side to this too. If you are constantly thirsty it can be an early warning sign of diabetes Type II as excessive thirst and urination can be triggered by unstable insulin levels. This happens when extra sugar builds up in your blood, making your kidneys go into overtime to process it all.
Tip; If you are permanently thirsty, are overly tired, peeing more than usual or have unusual weight loss, you must see your GP and tell them immediately. Otherwise ensure you drink at least 2 L of fluids a day.
Craving Salty Foods
If you are craving salty foods, this could mean you are suffering from stress. When we are highly stressed we can experience adrenal fatigue and the adrenals can stop working properly, resulting in low-sodium levels. The adrenals are two small glands which sit on the top of the kidneys and are you responsible for supplying the body with the stress hormone, cortisol. This is the hormone that gets you up and going in the morning, gives you the flight or fright adaptation throughout the day. Craving salty foods such as crisps, bacon or salted nuts can you mean that chronic stress is playing havoc with your adrenal glands.
Tip; relaxing techniques will help improve improve adrenal function such as yoga, meditation and breathing exercises. EFT or tapping has been researched and proven to lower cortisol levels and reduce stress.
Craving coffee could mean you’re either feeling down or you’re dehydrated. A quick fix such as coffee or caffeine will often end with a crash. Therefore you think you are having a coffee to boost your energy and perk yourself up, but this is short lived, and what goes up must come down, leaving you tired and irritable. Caffeine can also cause palpitations, and anxiety so it is best to avoid it if you can, or at least reduced to 1 a day. It could mean that you’re just craving anything to drink and you are dehydrated, therefore a nice glass of refreshing water will reduce the tiredness.
Tip; Always drink coffee on a full stomach. This way you will not be drawing on your adrenals, keeping everything balanced in the body.
What can I do to avoid being magnesium deficient?
Avoid carbonated drinks. These flush magnesium out of the body.
Reduce processed foods such as pastries, cakes, deserts, sweets are other sweet foods. Again these anti-nutrients replace whole nutritious food in the diet and flushes out vital nutrients such as magnesium.
Reduce or minimise stress in your life. Easier said than done I know, but both physical and emotional stress can be a cause of magnesium deficiency. These can include psychological upset, as well as physical forms of stress such as surgery, burns, and chronic disease.
Reduce caffeine. This includes coffee, tea and caffeinated drinks on a daily basis. Magnesium levels are controlled in the body in large part by the kidneys, which filter and excrete excess magnesium and other minerals. However caffeine causes the kidneys to release extra magnesium regardless of body status.
Check your medication. The effects of certain drugs have been known to reduce magnesium levels in your body through excretion by the kidneys. Drugs such as diuretic, heart medication, asthma medication, birth control pills or oestrogen replacement therapy all have an effect and could make you deficient.
Curb your alcohol content. Drinking more than seven alcoholic beverages per week can lower magnesium available to the cells by increasing excretion of magnesium by the kidneys. It also contributes to decreased efficiency of the digestive system, making you deficient in other vitamins and minerals also.
Are you older than 55?. Unfortunately as we get older, we become particularly vulnerable to low magnesium status. Stress and disease all contribute to increasing magnesium needs, yet most older adults actually takie less magnesium from food sources then when they were younger
Listen to your body and do some research, if you have to, there’s always a reason why!