Why we crave certain foods and what we can do about it.
By Dr. Alison Danby, ND
Food cravings are a common phenomenon that many people experience, and they can be difficult to resist. However, understanding why we crave certain foods can help us better manage these cravings and make healthier choices.
One reason we may crave certain foods is due to our brain’s reward system. When we eat foods high in sugar or fat, our brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. This can lead to cravings for these foods, as our brain seeks out that pleasurable feeling.
Another reason we may crave certain foods is due to emotional eating. When we are feeling stressed, anxious, or bored, we may turn to food as a source of comfort or distraction. This can lead to cravings for specific foods that we associate with comfort or positive feelings.
So what can we do about food cravings? One strategy is to identify the underlying cause of the craving. If it is due to emotional eating, finding alternative ways to manage stress or boredom, such as exercise or a hobby, can be helpful. If the craving is due to a nutrient deficiency, such as a craving for chocolate indicating a magnesium deficiency, incorporating more nutrient-dense foods into our diet can help reduce the craving.
Another strategy is to practice mindful eating. This involves paying attention to our hunger and fullness cues, as well as the taste, texture, and smell of our food. This can help us better tune in to our body’s needs and reduce the likelihood of overeating or succumbing to cravings.
In conclusion, food cravings are a common experience, but understanding why we crave certain foods can help us manage these cravings and make healthier choices. By identifying the underlying cause of the craving, practicing mindful eating, and incorporating more nutrient-dense foods into our diet, we can better manage our cravings and prioritize our health and well-being.