Why is it that we crave certain types of foods over others? Is there any explanation behind, ‘when hunger pangs kick in, crankiness increases?’ Let us decode how and why nutrients in foods affect not only our mood, but also the tastes we choose.
If body’s sodium levels are below the recommended limit, then one will crave salty foods. This could be due to exercise, dehydration, less intake of fluids, or general loss of fluids.
The same way, kids with calcium deficiency are prone to eating chalk or licking walls, at least back in the day when limestone was the main ingredient in these. Doctors prescribe calcium supplements in such cases.
Dr Trisheetaa Tej, a certified clinical nutrition specialist, explains the reasons for food cravings. “Food craving is all about an imbalance in one’s hormones. It clearly means that you are not listening to your body. Hormones like serotonin and leptin cause salt and sugar cravings in the body,” she says.
“Over eating, binge eating and emotional stress are also other lifestyle-related reasons for this. However, the good news is that they don’t last for more than three to five minutes,” further adds Trisheetaa.
Worry not. There are ways to deal with this situation. Apart from sleeping well and moderately exercising, consuming certain kinds of food will alleviate these cravings.
“Include good amount of protein in your daily diet. A high protein diet reduces food cravings by about 60 per cent. Make sure to have something every two hours. Snack on nuts, protein bars, dates, dry fruits, raisins, orange, and lime water as they are packed with essential nutrients and minerals,” explains Trisheetaa.
She also suggests keeping Polo mint and sugar free chewing gum handy as they get rid of food cravings. But, getting a full body check-up is a good idea too, as one will know for sure what their body requires and accordingly, they can plan their supplements and food intake.
Finally, Trisheetaa says, “Human body takes 21 to 40 days to break a habit, so patience is the key.”