Written by: Brittani Kolasinski (BHSc Nut, AdvDip NutMed)

 Our bodies have a funny way of asking for what it needs, different food cravings can be an indication of different nutrients that it needs and signalling you towards a possible deficiency. This blog post aims to identify what your food cravings could be telling you…

1.     Chocolate

This is one of the most common ones I hear of, and I get it. Chocolate is amazing – but when your body has this constant incessant need for it could be indicating that your body might need some magnesium! In which case, it may be worthwhile switching up the Cadbury (not actually chocolate, mind you) for some raw cacao – which is one of the richest sources of magnesium. Other foods high in magnesium also include dark leafy green vegetables (chard, spinach), broccoli, almonds, cashews, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, dates, kelp, beans, legumes and chickpeas.

2.     Ice

Yep, this is a thing! Cravings for ice or other non-food items like dirt or sand is something referred to as ‘pica’ and can mean that your body is low in iron.

Iron comes in 2 forms, haem and non-haem. Haem iron is more readily absorbed, and is found in animal products, mainly red meats, pork, eggs, chicken and fish. Non-haem are your plant based sources, including spinach, swiss chard, collard greens, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, cashews and sunflower seeds as well as legumes, lentils and beans.

Also to note NEVER assume an iron deficiency and self-prescribe supplements, in high doses iron is TOXIC to the body and symptoms of excess are in fact similar to signs of deficiency, i.e fatigue – always see your practitioner first for the appropriate testing and supplementation.

3.     Sugar!

Highly addictive stuff, you may find yourself reaching for the sweet stuff purely out of stress or exhaustion as a quick energy source, which is soon after followed by a slump, or because your body is lacking one or more of the following:

  • Chromium – sources include mushrooms, beetroot, broccoli, grapes and chicken

  • Phosphorus – food sources are animal products/meats like chicken, beef, organ meats, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes and chia seeds

  • Sulfur – foods containing this element include cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts), garlic, onions, kale

  • Tryptophan – amino acid found in foods such as cheese, organ meats, lamb, turkey, sweet potato and spinach

4.     Coffee

Again, could be because you’re simply exhausted and need the caffeine, but if you find yourself fantasising about the taste it could be due to a lack of phosphorus, sulfur, salt or iron – see above for the food sources listed

5.     Oily, fried foods

You may just need some more calcium! Calcium can be found in an abundance of different plant based foods, so even if you don’t eat dairy you can still get adequate amounts of this mineral in your diet. Dark leafy greens, like kale, mustard greens and broccoli are rich in calcium. Seeds such as sesame seeds, tahini (ground sesame) and chia seeds as well as legumes.. and then of course you’ve got your dairy based sources – cheeses, milk, yoghurt and creams

6.     Bread

Cravings for bread/ toast could actually be indicating a need for nitrogen – this is found in all high protein foods: animal products, meats, dairy, nuts and beans

Hopefully this might give some more insight into some of these weird, whacky and wonderful signals your beautiful body is giving you. Please do reach out if you feel you need more guidance around this.

Yours in health,