We all have food cravings. Some of them are bad for us (ladies, don’t we all get chocolate cravings?!) and some are actually good for us and tell us what our bodies need. We all experience hunger every day and often times you will eat whatever comes your way. But sometimes, don’t you just really want that slice of pizza from Pizza Hut and you won’t be satisfied with anything else?
But where do these cravings come from? Many research studies found that mental imagery may cause food cravings. For example, when you crave a bowl of ice cream, don’t you keep picturing mint chocolate chip looking so delicious in a bowl so vividly you can almost touch it? When you think about something so intensely, you can’t really think about anything else fully. Yet, studies also show the opposite effect. When you’re craving a food if you focus intensely on another task or thought, you can get rid of this craving.
However some cravings are actually psychological and hormonal in your body and brain. A chemical called serotonin may play a big role in your food intake. Serotonin regulates your carbohydrate intake and when the serotonin levels in your brain drop we crave carbohydrate-rich foods. This will cause you to crave sweets like chocolate and cake. These low serotonin levels can cause you to binge on this food that is not good for your health. Learning how to regulate your serotonin levels will help you crave foods less. Try eating carb-loaded food that is also healthy for you such as high-fiber bran cereals, plenty of fruit and starchy vegetables (especially sweet potatoes) and unprocessed grains such as brown rice and wholegrain wheat and you may find yourself craving less sweet treats.
There is also some truth to the complaint many women have: “I can’t stop eating chocolate when I’m PMSing!” The changes in food intake may be caused by your hormones. When your hormones fluctuate, it may cause you to crave sweets or just simply eat more.
Carb cravings may also signal low blood sugar. A good way to cut down on cravings or over-eating is to eat many small, healthy meals per day. Instead of gorging on three large meals a day, healthy snacks every few hours may curb cravings and help you maintain a healthier weight. Be sure to listen to your body, perhaps when you crave red meat, your iron levels are too low. When you crave watermelon, you could be dehydrated and craving the extra water. So be mindful of your cravings and be sure to choose healthy options that will be good for you in the long run. Next time when you crave chocolate, eat a few dark chocolate M&Ms and move on to another task – you’ll be glad you didn’t sit down and eat that entire chocolate cake!
To read more from Lauren, check out Lauren’s Thoughts.
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