The Student Newspaper of Catawba College


Decode Your Cravings: What Does Your Body Need?

By Aly Halter, Editor

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Everyone just assumes that when they have a salt craving, it means their body just must “need” that salt.  This is not entirely true; in fact, our certain cravings are actually alerts from our body that we are missing something in our diet.

Read on to learn what your body is trying to tell you when you crave certain foods.

If you crave…

CHOCOLATE – Your body needs magnesium.
*For a healthier way to fulfill your body’s need for magnesium, try some raw nuts and seeds, legumes, and fruits.

SWEETS – Your body needs chromium, carbon, phosphorus, sulfur, or tryptophan.
*Carbon: broccoli, grapes, and cheese
*Phosphorus: chicken, beef, poultry, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes, and grains
*Sulfur: cranberries, horseradish, and cabbage
*Tryptophan: cheese, lamb, raisins, sweet potatoes, and spinach

BREAD/TOAST – Your body needs nitrogen.
*Out of bread? Grab some high-protein food for nitrogen, like fish, meat, nuts, and beans

OILY SNACKS/FATTY FOODS – Your body is lacking calcium.
*No calcium-fortified foods around?  Eat mustard and turnip greens,  broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, or sesame

COFFEE/TEA – You need phosphorus.
*Eat some chicken, beef, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, or legumes.

CHEWING ICE – Your body is low on iron (not the myth you were thinking of!)
*Try some meat, fish, poultry, greens, or black cherries.

SODA/CARBONATED DRINKS – You need some calcium.
*Again, if you don’t have any milk or yogurt around, eat some broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, or sesame.

SALTY FOODS – Your body needs chloride.
*Chloride is found in fish, unrefined sea salt, and raw goat milk (yeesh… I’ll stick with the first two ideas!)

ACID FOODS – Your body is lacking magnesium.
*Eat some raw nuts and seeds, legumes, and/or fruits.

COOL DRINKS – Your body needs manganese.
*Try walnuts, almonds, pecans, pineapple, and/or blueberries.  Yum!

PRE-MENSTRUAL CRAVINGS – Your body needs zinc.
*Get some red meats (especially organ meats), seafood, leafy vegetables, and/or root vegetables)

Of course, everyone is different.  Some of us have a big sweet tooth, while others crave a savory snack.  Bottom line?  Your random cravings could be your body’s way of telling you how to fuel it with what it needs to properly function.

One last tip: studies say the typical food craving lasts only up to 5 minutes.  Try this trick next time you have an irrational craving – distract yourself by calling a friend, playing a game, or starting your homework.  Chances are, if you get the food off your mind, you will forget all about it!

Good luck fighting those cravings, and make sure you are getting your body what it needs.

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The Student Newspaper of Catawba College
Decode Your Cravings: What Does Your Body Need?