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What do your food cravings mean?

Food cravings are a result of chemical reactions in the brain. Brain chemicals like serotonin, endorphins, galanin and NPY can make us feel happy or miserable, and they can also trigger cravings for sweet or fatty foods. Listen to your body - those food cravings are trying to tell you something.

Common food cravings

Chocolate: If you are craving chocolate, what your body really needs is magnesium. Healthier options that have magnesium are nuts, seeds and legumes.

Bread or toast: Bread cravings often indicate a need for nitrogen. Fulfil this the healthy way by chomping down on high protein foods.

Fizzy drinks: A craving for fizzy drinks can be linked to a need for calcium. Find calcium in broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese and sesame seeds.

Other cool drinks: Manganese may be lacking from your diet. Get your fix from walnuts, blueberries, pineapples or pecans.

Oily or fatty foods: Hankering after oily foods is another sign that you may need additional calcium.

Burned food: It may sound strange but a craving for burned food is surprisingly common. This craving is a good indication that your body needs carbon. Find it in fresh fruit.

Salty food: Craving chips, crisps or another salty snack? Your body might need chloride. Satisfy your need by tucking into seaweed, olives or celery.

Beef: If you're craving a burger or a steak, your body might be short on iron. Red meat is healthy in moderation, but if you're looking for an alternative source of iron try pumpkin seeds, oysters, pine nuts or sunflower seeds.

Sweets: Food cravings for sweets are hard to interpret because they can mean a lot of different things. Your body could be wanting chromium (grapes, cheese, chicken), sulphur (cranberries, kale, cabbage), carbon (fresh fruits), phosphorus (beef, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, grains) or tryptophan (raisins, sweet potato, spinach, liver, lamb, cheese).

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