Urgent cravings for certain foods are the way our bodies tell us that we’re missing out on key nutrients and need to load up on what’s lacking. The “gotta have ice cream now” feeling doesn’t mean, however, that downing a gallon of Rocky Road is the best way to satisfaction. One nutritionist suggests looking at what we really need beyond our immediate food craving. “We need to understand these strong urges for certain food and look at the longer term rather than instantly gratifying with a quick fix,” says clinical nutritionist Sandra Cooty.
Cooty recommends resisting the craving to indulge in fatty, calorific foods and instead substitute foods that provide missing nutrients. “For example, when we crave chocolate or something high in sugar, what our body is actually crying out for is magnesium,” she says. Meet the need for magnesium, for instance, by swapping out chocolate with colorful fresh fruit, nuts or seeds.
Persistent urges for bread indicate a nitrogen deficiency that can be satisfied with high protein foods such as red meat, eggs, cottage cheese and yellow fin tuna. Cravings for sweets signal that you may need to increase your consumption of carbon, chromium, phosphorous and sulfur consumption, the nutritionist reveals. She suggests substituting raw nuts, seeds, legumes and plenty of fresh fruit. Fish, eggs, cranberries and kale are also rich sources of these important nutrients.
Cravings for alcohol or recreational drugs can be red flags warning about a lack of protein, calcium, glutamine and potassium.