Most of us have food cravings at some stage of our lives (if not some stage of the day) but have you ever wondered what these cravings might mean?
Sugar cravings can be caused by an underlying candida/yeast infection somewhere in the body. Candida thrives in a sugary environment so if your sweet cravings are accompanied by any other candidia symptoms (below), then it may be a good idea to adopt an anti-candida diet alongside taking beneficial supplements to get your body back on track.
Include constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, bad breath, mood swings, mouth ulcers, joint pain, acne, night sweats, depression, sinus problems, fatigue, itchy skin (typically ears, feet, scalp, skin folds, genitals and mouth), headaches.
- Avoid all sugars. Including fruit sugars and refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, pasta etc.
- Avoid yeast, aged cheeses and alcohol.
Foods that may be beneficial to combat Candida are those with natural antimicrobial properties such as coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, ginger, garlic and cloves along with oily fish such as salmon, herrings, mackerel, anchovies or a fish oil supplement.
Clove oil and Oregano oil can also be beneficial.
Chromium deficiency can also play a large part in sugar cravings.
Symptoms of Chromium Deficiency
Include anxiety, irritability, weight gain, fatigue, acne, fatigue, blood sugar problems.
Beneficial foods for increasing your Chromium intake are organic green leafy vegetables such as Romaine lettuce and broccoli, raw tomatoes, freshly squeezed orange juice and black pepper.
Chocolate cravings may be a sign of magnesium deficiency.
Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
Include insomnia, confusion, mood swings, irritability, anxiety, fatigue, rapid heartbeat, muscle pain, muscle twitches, digestive problems, restless legs.
Beneficial foods for increasing your Magnesium intake are organic green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans and brown rice.
For more on Magnesium read our Blog on this essential mineral here
If you crave sour foods and pickles, your body is probably telling you there is an imbalance in your gut. Traditional sour/pickled/cultured foods such as sauerkraut, yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, tempeh, kimchi, miso, etc, are all high in lacto bacteria which help to give these foods the sour/pickled taste we crave. Unfortunately modern and processed foods use somewhat of a cheats way to 'pickle' foods with vinegar and so it is these vinegary foods that we turn to for sour cravings. Unfortunately they don't have the same balancing affect that the good bacteria have in our bodies, and in fact can work to undermine the balance further.
Symptoms of a Gut Flora Imbalance
Include bloating, digestive problems, poor nutrient absorption, skin problems, fatigue, recurring infections, candida.
If you have the time, and the drive, start fermenting your own foods! It is easy. Home made sauerkraut, kombucha, Kefir or pickled vegetables could be on the menu in a few weeks! These foods are high in many strains of naturally occurring beneficial bacteria and delicious.
Craving salty foods usually indicates a mineral imbalance somewhere in the body.
Symptoms of Mineral Imbalance
Includes stress, bone and teeth problems, adrenal fatigue, anxiety, digestive problems, fatigue, muscle weakness, dehydration.
If a big bowl of mac and cheese followed by a milkshake is your idea of a treat, then omega oils are for you!
Omega Deficiency Symptoms
Include skin problems, depression, fatigue, poor memory, mood swings, poor circulation, menstrual cramps, hair loss, brittle fingernails, dry eyes.
Try increasing your intake of omega rich seeds such as chia and linseed or flaxseed, walnuts and oily fish such as salmon and anchovies.
It probably comes as no surprise that your body may be needing extra iron and B12 here. Meat cravings may also may be attributed to a vitamin A deficiency as vitamin A is high in organ meats and also meat fats.
Iron Deficiency Symptoms
Include anaemia, pale skin, fatigue, dizziness, hair loss, sore mouth, ridges on fingernails, nervousness, digestive problems, difficulty swallowing.
Look at increasing your uptake of seafood, red meats, iron can also be found in other sources like green leafy vegetables such as Spinach, legumes, quinoa Iron deficiency may be a sign that you are low in other nutrients which the body needs to assimilate iron. If you are eating a balanced diet then visit a health professional to have your iron levels tested and and to see if there are any underlying issues.
B12 Deficiency Symptoms
Include chronic fatigue, constipation, drowsiness, eye disorders, depression, digestive problems, sore tongue, irritability, memory loss, moodiness, nervousness, ringing in ears, heart palpitations.
Some beneficial foods for increasing your stores of vitamin B12 are seafood, fish, liver, eggs, and quality dairy cheese and milk.
Vitamin B complex
Vitamin A Deficiency Symptoms
Include dry hair, skin problems, acne, dry eyes, insomnia, fatigue, reproductive issues, sinus problems, frequent infections, styes, boils, weight problems.
Try increasing your intake of carrots, liver, kumara or sweet potato, kale and eggs.
Please note this information is intended only as a guide and does not replace the advice of your medical professional.