What are Food Cravings?
Chances are that at some point in your life you’ve had the experience of wanting to eat something that you normally wouldn’t find appealing – perhaps it was pickles and ice cream, or an insatiable need for something salty? So why does it happen? Experts are not entirely sure on why they occur; however, sometimes this is the body’s way of letting you know that you may be deficient in a certain mineral or vitamin. Food cravings seem to be the body’s natural cravings gone haywire.
What causes Food Cravings?
Most commonly with women, food cravings are particularly bad in the days preceding the menstrual cycle This is most likely due to hormonal fluctuations and the body trying to increase serotonin levels in the brain to counteract the feelings of pre-menstrual syndrome and melancholy before a period. Similarly hormonal changes during pregnancy can have an impact on taste and smell – and lead to bizarre cravings.
There are even reports of pregnant women craving meat when they have been vegetarian prior to falling pregnant. When we experience a particular emotional change – for example, after a trying experience, we may find ourselves craving something sweet – to restore blood sugar levels after shock or trauma. There are many mechanisms in the body that may trigger food cravings.
They may be as a result of a patterned habit – doing a certain activity may trigger a craving (watching a movie may trigger a craving for popcorn for instance) or it may be an absence of a particular activity that triggers the craving – those who stop smoking tend to crave foods as they need to do something with their hands and mouth – also, taste buds come alive again after smoking cessation leading to new taste sensations.
Diabetes can also lead to food cravings due to an imbalance in blood sugar levels. Those suffering with Candida may also have a tendency to crave sugary foods Finally food cravings often occur while an individual is on a particular diet or weight-loss program. Sometimes knowing a certain food is ‘not allowed’ can cause a craving for it! Unfortunately there is no known conventional ‘pill’ that can be popped to stop food cravings, however we can look to nature to restore balance.
Help for Food Cravings
Numerous studies have confirmed that certain herbal and homeopathic remedies containing nature’s compounds can help to alleviate food cravings and balance body systems. Gymnema Sylvestre is an herb of Southeast Asian origin, known as the ‘sugar killer’ as it is said to remove the taste for sweet foods. Galega Officinalis supports the balance of blood glucose in the bloodstream – lessening cravings, while Fucus vesiculosis (Bladderwrack) contains concentrated iodine, to assist in the production of thyroid hormones. Even Licorice has been shown in a recent human study to assist in healthy weight loss efforts!