When your food cravings could point to more pressing health concerns 32



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Everybody gets food cravings! It might be that late-night chocolate biscuit you just need to have, or perhaps you’re desperate for coffee each morning.

Studies have shown that even people with properly balanced diets have food cravings. Humans often seek “comfort foods” in times of stress, or just need to break out of their monotonous routines.

However, certain food cravings can point to other health concerns. It’s wise to note how often you crave certain foods, and if you’re unsure whether there’s a deeper health meaning, consult with your GP:

1. Craving potato chips – Could demonstrate dehydration

The “chippy slap” has almost become an Australian salute, but what if you really can’t stop yourself reaching for that next handful of potato crisps? Chances are it’s not the chips you’re craving, but rather the salt they contain.

Ironically, craving salt could be a sign that you’re dehydrated. This is because sodium, the primary substance in salt, helps to retain moisture in your tissues and organs. If you find yourself craving chips or other salty foods, first increase your water intake and try drinking some electrolytes.

2. Craving coffee – Could demonstrate iron deficiencies

Many Australians start their day with coffee, but a non-stop craving could show that you’re low in iron. Iron deficiencies can cause people to feel tired or sluggish, as there are fewer red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body.

For an alternative beverage that still packs an iron punch, try blending kale or spinach with some added pineapple for flavour. Another surprisingly delicious alternative to coffee is prune juice, which is loaded with iron too.

3. Craving chocolate – Could demonstrate emotional instability

Who doesn’t crave chocolate? This delicious treat contains flavonoids, chemicals which naturally increase your brain’s serotonin and endorphin levels. For this reason, chocolate boosts your feelings of wellbeing and happiness.

It can be easy to use chocolate as an emotional “crutch” though. If you’re routinely letting chocolate cravings takeover, it might be worth chatting to your GP about emotional releases that could be more beneficial. Consider taking a walk outside, or try snacking on strawberries and plums instead.

4. Craving water – Could demonstrate diabetes

Excessive thirst goes beyond the normal daily needs for water. If you are constantly thirsty and also urinating excessively, this could be an early sign of diabetes.

The kidneys of diabetic people work extra hard to filter sugars throughout the body. If you find your water intake and urination habits have changed, it could be worthwhile chatting to a GP.

5. Other tips

If you’re unsure whether your food cravings might point towards other health concerns, it could be useful to start a “food diary”. Record your normal diet, and if anything out of the ordinary occurs, note that craving in your diary.

Soon you’ll have a clearer idea of what foods you crave, and this information could be helpful when chatting with your GP. As with all health articles, this advice is general in nature only.

What foods do you crave? Have you ever craved a particular food or drink, only to find out it was a health symptom?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. OMG everything could be something these days, does anyone believe this crap…..could it just be that at that time I want that what ever and not have something wrong with me!!!!

  2. No. 3! Strawberries and plums boo. Have a piece of chocolate instead. We all know how eating something instead of what we are craving will make us crazy

  3. Craved either sweet drink or chocolate mid afternoon as getting lethargic and as I don’t drink sugary drinks at all was strange craving for me. I was diabetic so cravings can mean anything.

    2 REPLY
    • I am a diabetic too, but I am saying that not everything that happens to us means anything. Yes it can but it doesn’t always gave too.

  4. I read this late afternoon as I sip my cola drink, so ok I need sugar, oh damn it I’ll have a wine now that will cure my cravings

  5. Anyone else on here just realised that at various times of the day they are dehydrated, iron deficient, emotionally unstable and diabetic?

    1 REPLY
  6. I have just been and bought carrots, celery and beans, I am chopping them all up into sticks and am going to to eat them as snack, I listen to Ruth and Debbie and I bought cruskits and V8 juice and I listened to Starts at 60’s and bought strawberries and blueberries for breakfast. If I am going to be miserable, I may as well be eating things I like..so thanks..someone is listening to you 🙂

    4 REPLY
  7. Just having a Cherry Ripe (on special from Coles) and instant coffee. Have to have something while I surf the net.

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