We all experience this when we open our refrigerator, see into the pantry or notice our favourite chocolate ice cream, feeling an uncontrollable urge to eat.
Food cravings can trigger at any time, and they often force us to be involved in unhealthy eating, but worry not! You have to understand first the reasons for food cravings and adopt some good strategies for control; we have to “overtake.” our food cravings with our willpower to make healthier choices.
So let’s try to understand Science behind food cravings.
Firstly, we need to understand what exactly food cravings are. We all have intense cravings for our favourite foods, which can arise unexpectedly, no matter where we are. Some factors are behind food cravings, such as emotional factors like stress and psychological factors like deficiency of some nutrients or hormonal imbalances.
Researchers have found that food cravings are mainly associated with the game of reward and pleasure.
Specifically, when we consume our favourite meals and satisfy our food cravings, our brain releases dopamine(the feel-good hormone), and suddenly, we start feeling happy after satisfying our urge.
Causes Of Food Cravings.
What are the primary reasons for these cravings? One of the reasons is that our body demands certain foods, which we try to avoid forcefully.
Suppose you decided not to eat sweets, So now your body craves sweet dishes because you suddenly stopped consuming sweets, and your body does not prepare for this change.
What is your next step? It would be best if you did not change your diet suddenly.
Try to pick a healthier alternative to craved food.
Suppose you are craving sweets; instead of eating unhealthy desserts, Pick dark chocolate, which is more nutritious than sweets and can satisfy your sweet cravings.
Let’s explore the emotional and psychological factors that can cause your desire for food to intensify. Stress, anxiety, sadness or nostalgia can strike food cravings as we want to distract ourselves from our emotions. Have you ever experienced the urge to eat ice creams, pizza, burgers or fried food after a bad day? This is a prime example of emotional eating caused by intense cravings.
Another main reason for our food cravings is that some food brands’ advertisements easily influence us when we pass by the bakery, domino’s, or any other favourite outlet that can accelerate our cravings.
Some spices and flavours can easily dominate our taste buds, which leads to a solid urge for them. I hope now you understand the reasons behind food cravings.
Tips To Control Your Cravings:
Please find the root cause:
Watch your cravings and find their reason. Are you feeling stressed? Do you have nothing to do, or are you starving?
By identifying the emotions or psychological reasons, you can easily find healthier alternatives to satisfy your food cravings.
Pick healthy Options:
If your body demands something sweet, reach for a bar of dark chocolate instead of having a sugary dessert, but if you want to consume something salty, Pick salted nuts instead of fried chips.
Picking healthier alternatives not only satisfy your cravings but also help you to make healthy choices.
Plan your meals:
Always ensure that your meals are highly nutritious, containing all the necessary macronutrients (protein, carbs and fats) and micronutrients ( vitamins and minerals)that prevent you from any nutrient deficiency.
Including fibre-dense foods in your diet keep you full for a long time and suppress your unhealthy cravings.
We always eat unhealthy when stressed and deal with emotional breakdowns. Physical activities like meditation, breathing exercises, or diving into a new hobby can boost our mood.
By identifying emotional factors, you can minimise emotional eating and the associated unhealthy cravings.
Never compromise with sleep:
Inadequate sleep can disrupt your hormonal balance, which leads to unhealthy cravings. 6-7 hours of Sound sleep can control your food desires.
Practice mindful eating:
Enjoy every bite and indulge in the mouth-watering flavours. When we practice mindful eating, we become more in tune with our body’s hunger and fullness signals.
This awareness gives us the power to make better choices and be in control of our eating habits.
It helps us distinguish between real hunger and cravings influenced by external factors. So enjoy your food while being mindful of your body’s needs!
Always remember, It’s your responsibility to listen to your body and fulfil its needs.
Sometimes bowing down in front of your unhealthy cravings is fine, but every time you do the same, It can harm your internal health; so next time when you crave something, take a deep breath and always make a healthy decision that supports your healthy life.