Do you often wonder why do you crave so much for a particular food?
We all have cravings for some food or the other and that is normal. Rather, the most common food cravings we all have heard of is during early pregnancy, mostly in response to the hormonal changes in that phase. But experts believe that your cravings may be secretly telling you about your health. Regular food cravings may mean changes in your nutrition or health. In some people, food cravings mean nutritional deficiencies or silent health issues.
Now, this is really interesting! If your food cravings can speak volumes about your health, it is worth exploring the meaning hidden behind them. Listed here are few common cravings and the health secrets they indicate.
Craving for Salt
Craving for salt is very common and is a result of decreased sodium in the body. It is one of the commonest food cravings during early pregnancy. Decreased sodium and craving for salt is also seen in electrolyte imbalance and dehydration, often occurring after water loss and fever. Excessive sweating, heavy exercising, and extreme fatigue can leave you deficient in sodium. Craving for salt is also common in people with hormonal problems, low blood pressure and problems of the adrenal gland.
Some studies show that anemia too can make you crave salt. But, how does anemia cause salt cravings? Anemia results in fatigue, muscle cramps, confusion, and fainting, apart from pica and can cause salt cravings. Iron deficiency anemia can also be related to other problems, which affect sodium balance. However, the best way to find out sodium and electrolyte balance is to take a blood test to find the electrolyte levels and take the necessary action.
Craving for Ice
While we are trying to figure out food cravings meaning, it is important to understand why few yearn for ice. Ice craving can mean that your mouth is dry or it is hot, but it may indicate something else too.
Studies suggest that iron deficiency leads to pica, which is craving for substances that do not any nutritive value. Ice is one of those; others being chalk, paper or mud. Simply put, craving for ice could indicate anemia or iron deficiency. Anemia is an important health problem and can be confirmed with low hemoglobin levels in the blood test.
Craving for Chocolate
What do most women crave for, apart from diamonds? Yes, you got it right, the answer is CHOCOLATES.
Chocolates are rich in magnesium. Chocolate-rich food cravings mean magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is important for healthy muscles, nerves and also for a healthy heart. Chocolate cravings are also common during hormonal changes, hence women want to eat more chocolate around periods and during pregnancy. Mood swings, depression and emotional problems too can make you hunger for chocolates. But if you have very frequent chocolate cravings, you would surely want to check your health.
Also, it is important to differentiate whether you are craving only for chocolates or anything sweet, as that might mean something else. But for those who crave only for chocolates, then opt for dark chocolate or other healthy foods like green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and fish, the other sources rich in magnesium.
Craving for Sugar
Craving for sugar is yet another common feeling, mostly associated with lowered sugar levels. But remember, sugar cravings are also common in prediabetes and diabetes. As blood sugar levels fluctuate more often, craving for sugar is seen in conditions affecting glucose tolerance. Many people crave sweets when they are emotionally upset or have experienced a really bad day and need some sweet relaxation.
Craving for sugar may also mean that you just had spicy food or have indulged in high-calorie foods in your previous meals. Such foods cause your blood glucose levels to rise quickly but soon drop to leave you wanting sweets. Choosing high-fibre foods and complex carbs can help maintain blood sugar level, without sudden fluctuations. Also, diabetes can be easily detected by a blood test that checks your blood glucose levels.
Craving for Water
Craving for water is a common experience; mostly related to thirst. Yes, that’s simple, when you are thirsty or feeling hot, you crave water. Dehydration or lack of adequate water in the body, surely leaves you craving for water. It is more common when you lose water by exercising or playing, during summers or when you have diarrhoea, vomiting or fever. Your body, in order to make up for the water loss, demands water and you yearn for it.
Craving for water may also mean that you have eaten foods high in salt or sugar or had alcohol. Such foods or drinks increase water demand to maintain blood sugar levels and electrolyte balance. Some people with diabetes, high blood pressure or kidney problems may also crave water as a lot of it is lost through excessive urination. Frequent urination is also seen in some hormonal problems, which can leave you wanting more water.
Food Cravings during Early Pregnancy
Most women experience food cravings, particularly during initial months of pregnancy. This can be related to hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies or risk of health problems. Pregnant women can crave sweets, salty, fried, spicy, sour and other foods. Though food cravings in early pregnancy are common, healthy eating and timely check-up can ensure a healthy pregnancy.
Isn’t it truly amazing how food cravings can tell you so much about your health? Hence, while you can enjoy the food of your choice, pay attention to your food cravings. Whether it is water, salt, sugar or chocolate, food cravings suggest that your body lacks specific nutrients. If you repeatedly have such cravings, it may be worth seeking a medical opinion. Most investigations are simple and can be done as advised.
So, be alert; watch your food cravings. They can tell a lot about your health.