As I often say, your body knows what it needs, and it’s important to listen to it. And if you find yourself experiencing these four food cravings, it could be a sign that you have a nutritional deficiency or a more serious health problem, as I’ll explain today.
When it comes to getting proper nutrition, it’s important to first take note of our current state of medical care. It’s no wonder that certain nutritional deficiencies affect a majority of Americans.
In fact, I’ve found that many of my readers know more about nutrition than some of their doctors! In fact, as I recently reported, most medical students receive only 10 to 24 hours of nutritional instruction during their five or six years of training. That’s next to nothing in the grand scheme of things. However, they’re considered “qualified” to dole out nutritional advice.
It reminds me of the old adage, “often wrong, but never in doubt.”
Then, there are registered dieticians and nutritionists. That’s an entirely different horror story…
These professionals receive specialized training to learn how to develop optimal, healthy meal plans for clients. But many give out poor advice, don’t keep up with the latest nutritional science, or follow a healthy diet themselves!
In fact, a staggering 50 percent of registered dieticians and nutritionists in this country are at risk of suffering from anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders. It makes me wonder…where does their intense interest in food really originate? It certainly can’t be from a healthy, positive perspective…
Then, there are the government’s dietary guidelines. For decades, government health “experts” told us to avoid foods with fat and cholesterol. This led to millions of Americans cutting out truly nutritious foods like eggs and seafood. Now, even the government admits that advice was all wrong, all along…
A healthy diet should include a variety of fresh, unprocessed whole foods. (I talk about what to look for when buying healthy foods for you and your family in July’s issue of Insiders’ Cures, my monthly newsletter. Not a subscriber? Click here.) But if you find yourself craving a certain type of food, it may mean you have a nutritional deficiency or an underlying health problem.
Here are four common cravings and what they could mean for your health:
If you crave sweets, this may indicate low blood sugar. I know that sounds counter-intuitive. But eating a sugar-filled treat can actually make your blood sugar irregular. It can cause it to skyrocket and then plummet, making you crave sweets again, just a few hours later.
Eventually, a constant cycle can lead to insulin resistance and Type II diabetes. (If you have a constant craving for sugar, see your doctor to be evaluated for possible Type II diabetes or an endocrine disorder like polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS.)
You’re much better off opting for a piece of fruit when your sweet tooth strikes (which is absolutely fine if you have diabetes). Fruit contains fructose (a natural fruit sugar) and fiber. Therefore, your body absorbs it more slowly than “table sugar” — without the risk of spikes and drops in your glucose levels.
I place dark chocolate in a different category than most “sweets.” It has many health benefits including the ability to lower body weight, improve circulation, sharpen cognition, and elevate mood.
Additionally, if you find yourself craving chocolate, your body might be searching for a natural way to cope with stress. I find a small piece of dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cacao works wonders for stress.
In fact, according to a recent study by the American Chemical Society, eating just one-to-two ounces of dark chocolate daily for two weeks reduced participants’ stress hormone levels and also increased levels of serotonin and dopamine — the two so-called “feel-good” neurotransmitters in your brain.
Chocolate cravings may also indicate mineral deficiencies. If you find yourself coping with a constant craving, ask your doctor to administer a full blood panel test for a quick snapshot of your overall health.
- Red Meat
Craving red meat may signal a protein or mineral deficiency.
Of course, meat is an excellent source of protein, as well as bioavailable iron, selenium, magnesium, calcium and other minerals. So, when you feel the urge to eat meat, it may mean you’re not getting enough protein or minerals.
Menstruating women (who experience monthly blood loss) and vegetarians often experience these cravings, as they’re often lacking in key vitamins and minerals.
A diet rich in these and other essential nutrients include fresh, unprocessed meat, fish, and seafood. (For the best bang for your buck, buy local or organic whenever you can.)
Don’t shy away from non-meat sources either. Include beans, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and whole grains into your regular diet. And remember, when it comes to iron and calcium in particular, you need to get these from food sources like the ones I just mentioned…never from supplements.
Constant salt cravings—particularly in women—can also indicate when nutrients are missing from your diet.
In fact, a study in the journal Physiology & Behavior found that women who reported the highest number of salt cravings had the lowest levels of three essential minerals — calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
My advice? Strive to eat a balanced diet, which provides you with a plentiful amount of minerals from the best source possible: Nature.
The following foods offer a wide-spectrum of necessary minerals — including magnesium, calcium, iron, and selenium:
- Dark green, leafy vegetables
- Plain yogurt
- Red meat
In the end, you really don’t need to pay a half-cocked dietician or nutritionist to tell you what to eat. Simply pay attention to your body and what it’s telling you. Humans are wired this way.
So be mindful of your cravings — they can actually help improve your health, as long as you make the right choices to satisfy them sensibly.
“Your Food Cravings Reveal the Nutrients Your Body Needs,” Newsmax (www.newsmax.com) 5/15/2018