When a craving for something sweet, salty or fried comes up, the first thing that pops into our heads is generally “Get ye into mah belly!” Thinking about what our bodies are actually asking for isn’t even on the radar. We get it.
These desperate cravings are often triggered by seeing, smelling or even hearing about a certain devilishly delicious junk food. But it could also be our bodies crying out for something they’re deficient in, like vitamins and minerals.
Craving fried foods?
These are jam-packed with trans-fats and hydrogenated oil. Usually, when our bodies crave fatty foods, it’s because they need just that – but not all fats are created equal. Ditch the bad fats for the rad fats found in avos, raw nuts and oily fish.
These are loaded with salt, oil and trans-fats. Before you know it, you’re down a bag with nothing to show for it but crumbs in the bed. Often, when we’re craving potato chips, it’s really because our bodies need protein and sodium. Rather opt for biltong or lightly salted veggie chips.
We often crave cheese when we’re going through a rough patch. This is because cheese contains l-tryptophan: an amino-acid that boosts the happiness hormone serotonin. If you have those days when you feel like there just aren’t enough cheese toasties in the world, that could mean you’re lacking calcium, B-complex vitamins, folic acid or iron.
Craving fizzy drinks?
Soda is filled with preservatives, inflammatory sugar and artificial colourants. In fact, even the “lites” and “zeros” are not so zero. If you’re dying for your favourite fizzy beverage, it might be because you need water, water, water or even electrolytes. Did we mention you might need water?
Studies show that women are more likely to crave chocolate than men, especially at ‘that time of the month’. If this sounds like you, you could be magnesium deficient. Try satisfying that craving with a few blocks of dark chocolate, which is rich in the much-needed mineral.
Now hold up, we’re not saying that the occasional cheese burger and curly fries is out of the question. We simply mean that high-calorie, nutritionally-void fast foods might not always be the best answer.
Bestmed members on plans Beat4, Pace1, Pace2, Pace3, Pace4 and Pulse2 may claim for over-the-counter vitamins or supplements from their annual over-the-counter benefit.