Do you often feel like your body is letting you down?
In your head, you know all the right foods to eat, when to eat them and you start off with the best intentions. However, between making that green, healthy smoothie, and actually drinking it, you’ve chomped on a couple of cookies before realising it! Well you shouldn’t beat yourself up too much about it. A leading food psychologist has revealed the reasons why you succumb to everyday cravings – and provides crucial tips on how to cheat them.
The craving – Most Brits crave sugar when trying to eat healthily, but snacks such as chocolate bars and cakes simply serve to send us on a blood sugar rollercoaster – which means we ride high and then crash soon after.
The cure – ensure you feed your body glucose every three to four hours. Stock up on strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries as these fruits contain fructose (fruit sugars) which are released slowly into the blood stream. Eating these regularly will keep moods consistent and energy levels steady throughout the day. Fresh berries are one of the best foods to snack as they are loaded with antioxidants and highly nutritious.
The craving – What the body actually wants is minerals. The body needs minerals such as calcium, sodium, magnesium, and zinc to stay healthy – if you are deficient in any of these you will think you want salt. Similarly, craving salt can be a sign of dehydration, as sodium works by keeping water in the body to hydrate cells.
The cure – Rather than opting for pretzels, salty nuts or crisps which are sprinkled with table salt, opt for Himalayan pink salt of Celtic sea salt which are rich in minerals. And always drink plenty of filtered water.
The craving – During the dark winter months the lack of sunshine leaves most of us deficient in our feel-good brain chemical serotonin. As our serotonin levels drop, our brain seeks balance and we crave carbs. Refined carbohydrates – such as white rice, white bread or white – spike our blood sugar levels. But, the refined carbs are often nutrient deficient and lack the building blocks we need to create serotonin. So when our blood sugar plummets again, the craving comes back, what the body really wants is serotonin.
The cure – to keep your brain brimming with serotonin without spiking your blood sugar levels, you need to eat good quality protein such as turkey, fish, chicken, quinoa, buckwheat, nuts, seeds, beans, and pulses to provide your body with a good supply of amino acids including tryptophan. Avoid serotonin sabotages such as caffeine, nicotine, and artificial sweeteners.
The craving – If you struggle to start the day without a strong cup of coffee, your body might need a boost of catecholamines – adrenaline and dopamine which help to energise and motivate. This means the body really wants Tyrosine – as this supports the production of catecholamines.
The cure – rather than drinking coffee you could increase your intake of tyrosine-rich foods such as bananas, meats, fish, eggs, nuts, beans and oats.
The craving – although delicious, eating a cheese board every night isn’t ideal, but if the body is craving cheese this could be a sign of an essential fatty acid deficiency. These are good fats which the body can’t manufacture itself – omega 3 and omega 6.
The cure – rather than tucking into a block of Edam, try eating foods such as nuts and seeds, as well as oily fish such as tuna, salmon and trout.