There might be more to those cupcake cravings than you think...
Is it the salty-ness of potato chips, the richness of chocolate or the sweetness of gummy bears alluring your tastebuds when the clock strikes three? Whatever it may be, there’s a good chance your body is trying to tell you it’s missing out on valuable nutrients... Take a seat guys, you’re about to learn how to decrypt those cravings!
Let’s be honest, everyone loves chocolate, but do your 24hr Lindt cravings have a deeper meaning? Believe it or not, those delectable brown squares contain magnesium - a mineral involved in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, yet commonly deficient in the diet and often the one to blame for those horrid cravings! Now before you go thinking you can reverse a deficiency with chocolate, we need to get a few things straight. The more processed the chocolate and the higher the sugar content, the lower the cacao / cocoa content and the more inferior the level of magnesium. Drinking too much coffee, alcohol, tea and soft drink also has a tendency to deplete the mineral and can contribute to the likelihood of cravings.
The remedy: If you’re desperate for chocolate, opt for one with at least 75% cacao and a low sugar content. Include lots of nuts and seeds in the diet - particularly brazil nuts, and make sure your getting a sufficient intake of leafy greens. Alternatively supplementing with a good quality magnesium powder will be a sure fire way to keep your magnesium levels in check.
Sugar.. sweet sweet sugar.. This bad boy is one of the hardest cravings of all to pin point thanks to a number of nutritional deficiencies which can be blamed for the whirlwind that characterizes a sugar craving. On top of the list is Chromium, an important mineral which plays a role in regulating blood sugar levels through its influence on insulin regulation. Low levels of chromium in the body can often result in intense cravings for sugar, which we all know tends to end in an all-out sugar binge (just what you need mid bikini season, right?).
The remedy: Try curbing your cravings with natural sources of sugar. Fruit is a perfect option since it also contains fibre, which is digested gradually and accordingly slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Fat has a similar effect, so teaming an apple with some nut butter or dipping strawberries into coconut cream will help to keep blood sugar levels stable. Including chromium rich foods in the diet, like lean meats, asparagus, cheese, molasses and whole grains, will also help to reduce the likelihood of a deficiency. Perhaps the easiest approach is a simple chromium supplement which’ll make sure your bod’s got a rich supply of the mineral.
Pretzels, crunchy corn chips, giant slices of pizza with bacon and cheese… What’s not to love? Truth is, if you’ve fallen victim to the constant hankering of salty desires you might just have yourself a mineral deficiency. Our bodies require sodium, magnesium, calcium, zinc and a whole bunch of other trace minerals to run the chemistry of neurochemical reactions that take place in the body and to build blood and hormones. The nifty part is that many of these minerals have a salty (or minerally) taste to them, which is why the body tends to throw a tater chip craving your way when mineral levels are low.
The remedy: Reach for kale chips, air-popped popcorn and crunchy produce like apples celery or carrots. Dip veggie sticks into hummus if you feel a chip and dip urge coming on. Boost your mineral intake with a high-quality multi-vitamin. Eat more mineral dense sea vegetables like nori and kelp, and throw some super seeds like hemp and chia into the mix on the daily.