Saturday, 18 April 2020

Food cravings - how can we deal with them?

Decoding food cravings

Being in lockdown for much of the day can lead to many issues - one of these is a definite increase in snacking and wanting to eat certain foods.  I know this myself. I have had issues around food for a long time, as people will know who follow the blog.  But can I actually deal with them in a healthier way?

Chocolate
This is something I think most people can relate to. We consume a huge number of chocolate bars, and it is very much a go to snack.
It has to be acknowledged that some components in chocolate are scientifically proven to lift our mood and increase Serotonin, the feel good brain hormone. Therefore, logically, a desire for a nice bar of Dairy Milk (obviously any bar can be used) may reflect a need for an emotional lift if you are stressed or worn out.
Also, chocolate cravings can also indicate a low level of Magnesium. Cacao is rich in this mineral. Women are more at risk of this deficiency at certain times in their monthly cycle, hence the common premenstrual urge for a large chunk of chocolate.

So instead of picking up a milk chocolate bar, instead go for Dark Chocolate with 70 per cent Cacao. This provides less sugar and more Magnesium per square tham the milk options.  Try and keep to a small amount (god, I know nhow hard that can be).

Cheese
Again, many will understand the need for a nibble of Cheese, but it is a high fat food, so your body may be telling you it needs more good fats.
Cheese also contains Vitmin B12m which vegan diets can lack. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body's nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material kin all cells. It can also help prevent a type of Anemia, called Megaloblastic Anemia, that makes people tired and weak.
Although a deficiency can cause damage, it takes a few years for that to happen. Vegans are recommended to take B12 supplements.
Different sites can vary with recommendations, but the general consensus says that Mozzarella, Swizz Cheese, Bleu, Parmesan and Cottage Cheese are better than others, but it is worth researching further.

Crisps
It is possible that if you are craving crisps you are dehydrated. Salt stimulates thirst and helps your body hold onto water. So if you are not drinking enough, have been sick and exercising hard, it is common to crave salt, and therefore Crisps.  Maybe tuck into a glass of water or squash, as these have been shown to reduce salt pangs without the need for crisps.
Alternatively, you may just like crisps. But do be aware of the high salt content. Too much salt can lead to high blood pressure.

Sweets / Cakes
I can relate to this very much - in fact I have to be honest it has made my mouth water just thinking about a large slice of cake (you can never have a small one).
This craving, through studies, has been linked to stress, sleep problems, or simply because we are not full.
Sweet food offers a quick glucose fix when your blood sugar levels drops, but because it is just a quick fix the cravings will soon return - and now you have a taste for it. Think of how you can go through a packet of biscuits, or a whole cake (or is that just me?).
Instead, you need to opt for wholegrain foods such as oats or bread to avoid these fluctuations. For example, porridge with honey at breakfast should keep you full to lunchtime.

Fast Foods
There is nothing with having a takeaway now and then. However, if you are stressed or tense, you might feel the need for junk foods such as pizza, fried chicken, or fish and chips.
The combination of fats and carbohydrates laden together triggers the release of Dopamine, a hormone neurotransmitter which the brain connects with reward and pleasure. And short-term benefits are massive. But over time, you will associate the feelings with fast foods and that will lead to cravings.
The obvious answer is to take the healthier options. But that is easy to say. They maybe will not taste as good to us.

HMHB says:
It really comes down to personal choice and personal goals. Hopefully, everyone would like to lead a long and happy healthy life. That does come with some sacrifices. It means maintaining a healthy lifestyle of exercise and diet. Yes, have some "naughty" foods, but make that a treat. Concentrate on giving your body what it needs and is essential for life.

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