How to Control Food Cravings
What is a Food Craving?
A food craving may be described as the intense urge to eat a specific food, rather than a general hunger of any kind.
What Causes a Food Craving?
Food cravings are generally caused by hormonal imbalances in the body, or a poor diet that does not provide the body with adequate nutrition. They are especially common in women, whose monthly cycle and consequent hormonal fluctuations play a big part. The main causes for food cravings include:
- Post-diet food cravings
- Meal skipping
- Pre-menstrual syndrome
Common Food Cravings
The most common foods that people crave include:
- Chocolate and other cocoa products
- Sugar, which may indicate you are lacking in nutrients such as Chromium, Carbon, Phosphorus, Sulfur and Tryptophan in your diet
- Alcohol, which may indicate you are lacking in nutrients such as protein, avenin, calcium, glutamine and potassium
- Salt, which may indicate a mineral deficiency. A salt craving can be quenched by foods high in chloride
- Fatty foods, whose cravings may be suppressed with foods high in calcium and essential fatty acids
- Breads, which may indicate you are lacking in nutrients such as protein and nitrogen
How to Control Your Food Cravings
There are many natural remedies that may help you control food cravings. Some of these include:
- Avoiding triggers. If you crave something that you regularly eat, you may like to consider substituting the food for something else. For example, if its caffeine you are craving, try substituting your morning coffee with a hot of herbal tea instead. It won’t quite feel the same initially but in time your cravings will subside and your body will thank you for it
- Destroy any temptations, clean out your pantry and throw out any trigger foods that you may crave and binge on in times of weakness.
- Since stress is a common trigger for food cravings, practice mindfulness regularly and let go. Meditation, mindful walking and breath work are three easy techniques with which can distract yourself from a craving and prevent its reoccurrence in the future.
- Make sure you to get adequate sleep, as fatigue often leads to intense sugar cravings as the body tries to stay awake.
- Eating at regular intervals throughout the day. This stablises blood sugar levels and keeps your metabolism burning kilojoules at an efficient rate.
- Eat enough kilojoules, which is often not the case when on a strict, set diet.
- Eating low GI/GL foods to control blood sugar levels. This will ensure your body is provided with a steady flow of energy, as well as prevent a spike in blood sugar that may cause mood and appetite swings that influence food cravings.
- Limiting added sugar and salt to foods, which when overly consumed can aggravate cravings.
- Distract yourself with a book, pet, film, phone call or anything else non-food related that you enjoy.
- Stimulants such as caffeine are thought to affect blood sugar levels, and should therefore be avoided when trying to control food cravings.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners that are often hundreds of times as sweet as natural sugar. Their super sweet taste can trigger a serious sweet tooth craving later on in the day, as well as causing a build up in insulin resistance.
- When craving sweet foods, opt for a piece of fruit instead.
- Shake up your exercise routine. Exercise has been scientifically proven in positively influencing mood as well as supporting blood sugar level regulation. It does so by stimulating a release of feel-good endorphins, which leave you on a natural high without the food cravings you usually desire. Upping the exercise around hormonal and emotional periods will prove especially beneficial in reducing food cravings.
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