10 Most Common Cravings and Their Causes

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Ever wonder why you crave certain foods and not others? You may be nutritionally deficient!

woman_fork_knive_hungry_eat_craving_picMany of us have, at some point in our lives, experienced a craving for a particular food, but have you ever stopped to wonder what the craving could mean? A craving is the body communicating to the brain that we’re deficient in certain nutrients, even if the foods we’re craving are generally categorized as being "bad" for us.

There are many different types of cravings and they can usually indicate what it is we really need. Take a look at the 10 most common cravings and what they may be trying to tell us.

Salt and Salty Foods

Craving salt or salty foods may mean that you’re dehydrated. Salt cravings could also mean you have a silicon or chloride deficiency.

Add to Your Diet:

  • A quart of water for every 50 lbs of bodyweight each day and water rich fresh fruit and vegetables to increase hydration levels
  • Seaweed, rye, and celery to increase chloride levels
  • Nuts and seeds (avoid refined grains) to increase silicon levels.

Chocolate

chocolate_hot_drink_bar_nuts_cacao_cocoa_brown_picCraving chocolate can be a sign that your daily magnesium intake is insufficient. Approximately 80% of the general population is deficient in magnesium, and if you exercise regularly, your magnesium requirements increase further.

Add to Your Diet:

  • Dark chocolate, raw cacao nibs, nuts, and green vegetables in your daily diet or supplement with a high quality magnesium supplement

Sugar and Sugary Foods

A craving for sugary foods may be as simple as a need for a quick energy fix from stress or lack of sleep. Sugar cravings may also mean that your diet is lacking in chromium, carbon, phosphorus, sulfur, or tryptophan.

Add to Your Diet:

  • A combination of nutrient dense sweet foods with protein, fats, or high fiber foods like nuts and fruit for energy
  • Broccoli to increase chromium levels
  • Fresh fruit to increase carbon levels
  • Nuts to increase phosphorus levels
  • Cranberries and cauliflower to increase sulfur levels
  • Sweet potato and spinach to increase tryptophan levels

Fatty or Oily Foods

spinach_craisin_avocado_salad_healthy_fats_nutrition_picCraving fat or fatty foods may be caused by a low daily fat intake. Fat is an essential nutrient in healing and replacing cells in your body, and it’s a vital component in many other bodily functions. Fats cravings may also mean that your daily calcium intake is too low.

Add to Your Diet:

  • Healthy or smart fats from plant based sources— hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, avocado, nuts, etc.—or foods high in healthy fats at every meal
  • Leafy greens, legumes, and sesame seeds to increase calcium levels
An interesting note: low calcium levels may also be linked to soda or carbonated drink cravings.

Bread and Toast

Craving these foods may mean that your nitrogen levels are low. If nitrogen loss is greater than nitrogen intake, a negative nitrogen balance is created within the body. For the body to make progressions in fitness (and generally be in good health), it needs a positive nitrogen balance to recover from workouts and make adaptations in response to the stimulus caused by training.

Add to Your Diet:

  • Tofu, nuts, and beans or a high quality vegetable based protein supplement like Warrior Blend to improve your nitrogen balance

Overeating

red_green_orange_fruits_mixed_healthy_fresh_summer_picOvereating may be caused by tryptophan, silicon, and tyrosine deficiencies.

Add to Your Diet:

  • Sweet potato and spinach to increase tryptophan levels
  • Green, red, or orange fruits to increase tyrosine levels
  • Nuts, seeds, and oats to increase silicon levels

Lack of Appetite

This may be caused by chloride, thiamine, niacin, or manganese deficiencies.

Add to Your Diet:

  • Tomatoes and celery to increase chloride levels
  • Seeds and yellow vegetables to increase thiamine levels
  • Nuts to increase manganese levels
  • Sunflower seeds to increase niacin levels

Pasta and Pastries

Craving pasta or pastries can be a sign that your diet is lacking in chromium.

Add to Your Diet:

  • Onion, apples, and cinnamon to increase your chromium intake

Red Meat

beans_lentils_legumes_iron_healthy_bowl_mixed_picCraving red meat while following a vegan lifestyle (especially if you have not been vegan all your life) may mean you are iron deficient. As the non-heme iron found in plant food sources is less absorbable than heme iron, it may be advisable to consume 1.5 times the recommended daily intake for iron. To increase the absorbability of non-heme iron found in plant food sources, combine iron rich foods with foods high in vitamin C.

Add to Your Diet:

  • Spinach with an orange, or strawberries and almonds to increase levels of iron

Potato Chips

These are a popular craving. Craving potato chips may mean you’re deficient in chloride.

Add to Your Diet:

  • Celery, tomatoes, or olives to increase chloride levels

Sometimes people will experience multiple cravings. When devising a nutritional plan, I recommend you select foods that contain nutrients linked to several cravings to see if this helps. If you still suffer cravings, select the food specific to that craving to correct the deficiency that craving is linked to.

If you want to learn more about these tips or fitness and nutrition, like my Facebook page.

Read more articles on cravings!

Claims on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Sunwarrior’s awesome expert writers do not replace doctors and don’t always cite studies, so do your research, as is wise. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.

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