What your food cravings say about your body

What you crave can often be a signal from your own body - a message about your physical or psychological state.

Let's start with public craving offender number one: chocolate.

"Often times people who are feeling a little bit blue crave chocolate," said Dr. Daniel Monti.

Dr. Monti says it's not all in our heads. Studies have shown that chocolate actually does make us feel happy.

"There is some evidence to suggest that there is a chemical reaction that helps to lower stress levels," said Dr. Monti.

But unwrapping that candy bar can also unlock some key biological clues.

"There are some studies out there that link magnesium and a magnesium deficiency to chocolate cravings," said Kane.

Lindsey Kane, a registered dietitian for the Wellnest, says once you decode the message, fill that need with nuts, seeds, and other legumes.

"No one wants to hear that I'm sorry but go eat some hummus!" said Kane.

Can't live without salty, crunchy chips?

"Sometimes people who say they are a salty person actually what they are craving are salty foods that have a lot of fat in them," said Dr. Monti.

And you're grabbing at a key piece of health information when you reach inside that bag.

"Sometimes when somebody craves something like salt it could be that you need hydration," said Dr. Monti.

In fact, our experts say a whopping 80 percent of us are dehydrated.

"It is really important to give yourself that moment to drink that glass of water," said Kane.

Kane says if you have a sweet tooth or you're carb crazy, those donuts or bagels calling your name can actually be calling out an imbalance.

"A lot of those sweet cravings are indicators that we are not eating regularly enough throughout the day and our blood sugars are a little out of whack," said Kane.

Do you ever just need a big, juicy steak? You may just need more of a certain nutrient or mineral.

"Sometimes it is zinc related, sometimes it is iron related. Really what it is, is your body telling you something. Generally what it means is that you are living an imbalanced lifestyle and you need to recalibrate it in some way shape or form," said Kane.

Re-calibrating those cravings by weaning - just as you would with any addiction.

"Our taste buds have been high jacked by these processed foods they are heavy in salt, heavy in fat heavy in sugar and it is addictive," said Kane.

Here are a list of cravings and what some experts say it could mean:

Craving: SUGAR, STARTCH and CARBOHYDRATES

-What it means: low blood sugar, high stress levels. Some experts also say you could also be lacking chromium, which keeps your blood sugar steady.

-What you can eat: Reach for a piece of fruit, sweet potatoes, whole grains and even shellfish. Experts say you will be less likely to crave sugar if you eat regularly throughout the day

Craving: SALTY

-What it means: dehydration. Experts say you can also be stressed or even lacking healthy fat in your diet

-What you can eat: Water, avocados, salmon and vegetables

Craving: CHOCOLATE

-What it means: you could be lacking magnesium in your diet. Some experts also believe this can be why some women who are menstruating have strong chocolate cravings

-What you can eat: A small piece of high quality dark chocolate, avocados, spinach, kale and even squash!

Craving: RED MEAT

-What it means: you can be lacking iron or zinc

-What you can eat: iron rich beans and legumes, red meat (of course!), collards, dried fruit apricot

Craving: CAFFEINE

-What it means: While our experts agree most caffeine cravings come from an addiction. However, some research suggests you could also be low in iron

-What you can eat: Nuts, red meat and dried fruit

Craving: FATTY SNACKS

-What it means: you could be lacking calcium

-What you can eat: milk, oranges, spinach and kale

Experts say most cravings do not come from a lack of nutrients but a strong psychological need for certain comfort foods we are familiar with.

The experts we spoke with say if you believe your body is lacking certain nutrients, talk with your doctor.

They also say before giving into any craving, drink a glass of water to see if the craving subsides.
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