Mineral Deficiencies and Food Cravings
Last updated on June 19th, 2016
Food cravings are a natural part of life. Some of us crave donuts, while others crave chocolate, refined carbohydrates, salty foods, and other foods that are ultimately unhealthy for you. Unfortunately, we often give into food cravings, even when craving the food doesn’t stop the cravings. What are food cravings all about and how do we overcome them?
Research has shown that many food cravings are not actually cravings for the food itself but indicate that the body is deficient in certain minerals. These minerals may be able to be found in unhealthy foods but they are best found in whole, healthy foods that will not cause other health problems. Minerals are best gotten from natural sources, in which the minerals are in a form that best allows them to be absorbed by the body.
Chocolate and Magnesium Deficiency
Chocolate is perhaps the most common food craving in developed countries. Chocolate cravings generally mean that a person is deficient in the mineral known as magnesium. According to the latest statistics, around 80 percent of people in the US are deficient in magnesium, which is a necessary cofactor in about three hundred biological reactions inside the body, including those reactions that are related to feeling relaxed.
Magnesium is also known as the “relaxation mineral” because deficiencies in magnesium cause irritability, anxiety, high blood pressure, and insomnia. This is why people who are deficient in magnesium often feel better when they eat a chocolate bar. The cacao in chocolate is the source of magnesium.
There are healthier sources of magnesium besides chocolate. Whenever you crave chocolate, you can instead consume seeds, nuts, beans, fish, blackstrap molasses, and dark leafy greens—all of which are high in magnesium and will satisfy any craving for chocolate that you might be having.
High Sugar Foods and deficiencies in Chromium, Carbon, Sulfur, Tryptophan, or Phosphorus
Foods that are high in sugar involve the second most craved foods in developed countries. This is a difficult craving to identify because there are many deficiencies that are related to sugar cravings. Some of these include the following:
- Chromium. It is a mineral that helps regulate a person’s blood glucose levels.
- Carbon. It is an element that makes up sugar.
- Phosphorus. It is used by the cells to make energy.
- Sulfur. It helps the body decrease toxin levels in the body.
- Tryptophan. It is one of the precursors to the neurotransmitter, serotonin.
What this means is that, in order to fight sugar cravings, you need to eat better foods that are high in these minerals so that the sugar craving will go away by itself.
Refined Carbohydrates and Nitrogen Deficiency
Cravings for refined carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta, really means that you have a deficiency in nitrogen. Nitrogen is necessary for making proteins in the body as well as the DNA and RNA in the cells. Deficiencies of nitrogen can cause malnutrition because of a protein deficiency. If you find yourself craving refined carbohydrates, you should instead eat foods that are high in nitrogen, such as fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are much better for you overall than eating refined carbohydrates.
Other Common Cravings
If you find yourself craving foods that are high in fat and oil, you are likely craving calcium. Healthy sources of calcium include cheese, broccoli, turnip greens, and raw milk.
If you find yourself craving ice, you are likely deficient in iron. Instead of chewing on ice, you should eat leafy green vegetables, meats, sea vegetables, and blackstrap molasses, which will provide you with good sources of other nutrients besides iron.
Salty food cravings mean you are deficient in silicon or chloride (or both). You can get these minerals by eating a lot of nuts, seeds, and fish in the diet instead of salty snacks, which provide no real other nutrition besides giving you salt.
The following is a list of food cravings and what you can eat that is healthy and can be a source of the mineral you really crave:
- Chocolate. This indicates a magnesium deficiency and you should eat seeds, raw nuts, fruits, and legumes.
- Sweet foods. You can be deficient in chromium, phosphorus, carbon, sulfur, or tryptophan and should eat broccoli, fresh fruits, cheese, dried beans, chicken, liver, poultry, fish, nuts, cranberries, cheese, liver, raisins, cruciferous vegetables, dairy, eggs, fish, sweet potatoes or spinach.
- Bread or Toast. This means you are deficient in nitrogen and should eat foods that have a lot of protein in them, such as meat, fish, beans, and nuts.
- Fatty foods or oily snacks. This means you are deficient in calcium and should instead eat broccoli, kale, legumes, mustard greens, or turnip greens.
- Tea or coffee. This means you are deficient in either phosphorus, sulfur, salt, or iron and should eat fish, meat, poultry, seaweed, sea salt, apple cider vinegar, greens, black cherries, egg yolks, garlic, onions, liver, eggs, red peppers, dairy, nuts, and legumes.
- Alcohol or illicit drugs. It can mean you are deficient in protein, calcium, glutamine, Avenin, or potassium. Health sources for these nutrients include sun-dried black olives, potato peels, seaweed, raw cabbage juice, mustard greens, turnip greens, broccoli, legumes, kale, granola, oatmeal, poultry, meat, dairy, seafood or nuts.
- Ice. It means you are deficient in iron and should eat seaweed, greens, black cherries, fish, or meat.
- Burned food. This unusual deficiency means that you are deficient in carbon and should eat a lot of fresh fruits.
- Carbonated drinks. It means you are calcium-deficient and should eat broccoli, legumes, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, and cheese.
- Salty foods. It indicates a deficiency of chloride that you can get in raw goat’s milk, sea salt, and fish.
- Acidic foods. It means you are deficient in magnesium and should instead eat legumes, fruits, raw nuts, and seeds.
- Cool drinks. It indicates a manganese deficiency and you should eat blueberries, pecans, pineapple, almonds, and pecans.
- PMS Cravings. You are deficient in zinc and should eat organ meats, leafy green vegetables, and seafood.
- Overeating in general. It means you can be deficient in either tyrosine, tryptophan, or silicone. Healthy sources of these are oranges, vitamin C supplements, fruits that are highly colored, cheese, liver, raisins, lamb, spinach, sweet potatoes, nuts, and seeds.
- Poor appetite. It means you are craving vitamin B1, vitamin B3, manganese, or chloride and should eat raw goat’s milk, unrefined sea salt, walnuts, pecans, almonds, pineapple, blueberries, tuna, beef, halibut, turkey, chicken, seeds, legumes, pork, beans, nuts, seeds, and organ meats.
- Tobacco. It means you are deficient in silicon and should avoid refined starchy foods, instead eating nuts and seeds.
- Unhealthy food cravings are a sign of mineral deficiency. http://www.naturalnews.com/044579_food_cravings_mineral_deficiencies_essential_nutrients.html. Accessed 5/10/16.
- Food cravings. http://natureworksbest.com/naturopathy-works/food-cravings/. Accessed 5/10/16.