IS IT REALLY CHOCOLATE YOU WANT OR IS YOUR BODY TRYING TO TELL YOU SOMETHING ELSE?
We’ve all had those cravings where we just have to have something. You can sometimes think you want something but really, it’s your body saying you’re low on some vital nutrient. Below we’re going to go through what you think your body wants and what you actually need while providing some healthy alternatives to satisfy those cravings and keep you on track.
Do you suddenly want that chocolate bar? Usually, this is the cause of low blood sugar levels. This can be because you had something high in sugar but low in nutrients, this causes your blood sugar to spike (sugar rush) but then crash, causing you to feel lethargic and low in mood. This low mood is usually due to the lack of serotonin (feel good hormone) your body is producing. It can be low due to the reason given above but it can also be low due to poor sleep, alcohol consumption and/or depression/anxiety. So next time you’re reaching for the chocolate cake, stop and consider if it might just be because you didn’t get enough sleep last night.
Healthy alternatives… dark chocolate, fresh fruit, pulses, low GI carbohydrates like porridge and grainy bread.
Certain infamous brands do point out that “once you pop, you just can’t stop” when it comes to crisps. The cravings for these foods tend to indicate that you have either low sodium levels or are feeling particularly thirsty. In the case of the former, this very rarely occurs as we get plenty of salt in our modern diets (too much sometimes). When it comes to hydration, the NHS recommends a minimum of 2.5 litres (5 pints) of water a day for the average individual which you probably don’t get all of the time. This is especially important for people who regularly exercise as they lose salt and water when sweating during exercise.
Healthy alternatives… drinking more water.
Greasy, fatty foods
While there are a number of reasons for choosing this option (besides the taste), you may find that you are suffering from low energy levels. Most of these foods tend to have high fat content and as fat is used as a major energy source, your body needs a certain amount of fat to function properly. A lot of these foods also tend to be high in protein which may be one of the other reasons you’re craving these foods.
People who exercise regularly need a little more protein than the average person on the street to help repair the damage caused by running and lifting weights, to the tune of about 2.2g per kg of bodyweight. So, you may find you’re just not getting the right amounts in your current diet.
Healthy alternatives… nuts, lean meat, fish and beans.
It is no secret that the modern diet is extremely acidic. As a result, the human body will naturally try to balance pH levels back out by telling you that we need more alkaline foods. These take the form of foods high in calcium (cheese, milk, spinach), potassium (beans, sweet potatoes, beetroot), magnesium (dark chocolate, avocados, nuts) and sodium (carrots, meats, spinach). High pH levels tend to be the main reason behind any nutrient imbalances within the blood. Incorporating more alkali foods into your diet will certainly help balance out your body’s system and reduce any bothersome side effects that may be hindering your performance goals.
Healthy options… beetroot, milk, avocados, spinach and carrots.
While there are more unusual cravings, you may find those are down to purely psychological reasons like associating a certain type of food with a happy memory. If you’re still unsure as to why you are craving something or you don’t know how to combat these cravings, come and see one of the Fitness Team today and we can help rebalance your diet and your body to best suit your goals.