Sunday, 21 December 2014

Cravings- What they really mean!

If you've been reading my random ramblings (alliteration for the win!) for a while now, you may have noticed I am a sucker for cravings. A sucker in that I get them often and don't generally ignore them. luckily for me I generally crave wholemeal pasta or roasted veggies or sweet potato and nut butter or oatmeal or... ok you get it- stuff that isn't gonna make me feel blah. Which is why I guess I allow myself to go with the wants.
It's never really crossed my mind before- what cravings truly mean, until I was standing here at my computer (I hate sitting down and so do all my computer work standing... yes I look a bit funny but I'm at home, so only my family can judge ;) and got a hankering for some hot ginger tea. (I am now standing back here at the computer sipping on some hot ginger tea out of my Christmas mug) The reason this sparked my curiousity into cravings was that I was feeling really bloated and sick yesterday and then just sick when I woke up this morning and- like I touched on in this post- my body smartly knew what it needed and made me crave it.
After a bit of research and several different interesting internet pages filled with so much info that it made my eyes cross for a while, I got a little bit of an idea of the science behind cravings. Apparently they're not as simple as you think!
First of all, whatever it is you're craving could actually be a signal of something completely different you need to eat. Confused? So was I!
I thought this was kind of cool... but sort of non-helpful for the person with the craving because you're body is screaming at you to eat chocolate when it really needs nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit! If anyone else has ever experienced a craving- a full blown, world has paused until this craving is satisfied, craving- then I'm sure you'll understand how unbelievably impossible it would be to pick up a carrot or apple.

Luckily for me, the only thing I really crave from this list is breads, pasta etc. However this makes me question the reliability of this research as it says I need nitrogen, which you get from dark leafy greens and nuts and seeds and I don't know how to communicate the vast amount of these foods that I already eat each day (I can fit a lot of greens in my smoothies!). So much that I don't think it would be possible for me to eat more without cutting out a major food group or three! Although maybe my body is lacking in nitrogen because I'm not absorbing it well from my foods or something. I'm not sure, but let's move on any way.
Science reveals that food cravings are not just strong wants, but actually stem from your brain, specifically the hippocampus, insual and caudate appear to be active during food craving episodes and that the memory areas of the brain are actually more important to food cravings than the brains reward center.

I guess that adds to the validity of the power and influence cravings have over us. That's not to say emtoion and desire don't play a part though- they most definitely do! Sometimes food cravings come about to satisfy an emotional need (calming stress, reducing anxiety) because some foods produce extra hormones- like melatonin or serotonin which can change how we feel.
I think I like this theory a little better because it makes more sense to me. We reach for foods that will make us feel better and they're not disguising something else you should be eating- chocolate actually makes you feel happy! (Even if it is only for about an hour;)

Some other theories include eating a diet lacking in variety will result in more food cravings, throughout history humans have had to survive famines and store excess calories- so we may be programmed to crave foods high in calories or even your craving reveals the type of person you are- likes order, has few regrets, walks on wild side, loner, creative, private (all this from something you really want to eat!).

 The best piece of information I found about cravings, would have to be this paragraph; revealing all the answers:

'A lot of people really enjoy chocolate.  It’s wonderful food.  But that’s different from having burning chocolate cravings.  When our bodies are being deprived of the fuel they desperately need to keep their metabolisms stoked, immune systems thriving, and hormonal systems in tip-top shape, they will cause us to crave whatever they think we’ll eat to get the necessary fuel.  For most of us low carbers, that’s chocolate.'

 My ending response to all this- if you have a craving, definitely fulfill it- just don't go overboard... and maybe do a little research into what that particular craving might mean (especially if you get the same one over and over again!)

In the mean time, I'm off to go make brekky (yes I'm having oats... I feel asthough they are one craving I could definitely never ignore!)

Your turn!
What's is you most typical craving?
Do you listen to your cravings?
Do you think they're a sign for something else you might be missing out on?

See you next time! (3 days til Christmas!) :D

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thoughts, questions, queries... leave a reply!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...