What do you crave? The saltiness of potato chips, the cool creaminess of ice cream, or the rich flavor of chocolate? Whatever you’re longing for, it may be your body’s way of letting you know you’re missing valuable nutrients. Here’s how to decode your cravings.
All Cravings—Most cravings are actually misinterpretations from our bodies that we are dehydrated. By drinking a tall glass of water first, you may be giving your body exactly what it wants and alleviate the craving altogether. By some estimations, 80 percent of people are chronically dehydrated. So, before you reach for food to nix your cravings, quench them with some water. Then wait half an hour. More often than not, they’ll be gone.
Sweets—If you crave sweets of almost any kind you may be experiencing blood sugar fluctuations. Giving in to pie, candy, cake, or other goodies only makes the problem worse by causing blood sugar roller coasters that lead to more cravings. Instead, choose a piece of fruit when you’re craving sweets. And, regularly choose more high-fiber foods like beans and legumes, and complex carbohydrates like whole grains keep your blood sugar stable.
Salty Foods—Cravings for salty foods like potato chips or popcorn often means chronic stress may be taking a toll on your adrenal glands—two triangular-shaped glands that sit atop the kidneys and give us energy and help us to cope with stress of all kinds. Getting on top of the stress in your life is essential. Try meditation, breathing exercises, or other stress management techniques. Research at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City showed that people who take a break to breathe deeply or meditate before reaching for salty snacks reduced their stress hormones by 25 percent and cut the binging in half.