There is a quite a difference in the meaning of the term craving depending on what school of thought provides the definition. For example, the healing community defines cravings as a signal that the body is deficient in a vitamin, mineral or water, and needs vital nutrients. The medical industry is trying to prove that cravings are only manifestations of the mind. The healing community and the medical community seem to agree: cravings don’t always indicate that you’re hungry. And when they do, you might be surprised as to the message your cravings are actually trying to send. The best way to determine what a craving means is to understand and experience firsthand how cravings are the voice of the body.
Food cravings are the most common and can be a sweet or salty desire with chocolate, ice cream, potato chips and pretzels topping the list. A sweet craving may indicate a magnesium deficiency common with more than eighty percent of the population. If chocolate is the only way to satisfy the craving, then opt for dark chocolate. But it is recommended to try foods high in magnesium like seeds, nuts and leafy greens or fresh fish before you reach for the chocolate.
Salty foods indicate high-stress situations that are tapping the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands release cortisol that pulls quick energy from the body. Snacking on celery or a salad with Swiss chard or spinach may relieve the craving. A craving for red meat is a sign of low iron and is common in menstruating women and those suffering from PMS. Snacking on unsulfured prunes, figs, and other dried fruits should satisfy the craving. Meals of beans and legumes are also high in iron. A craving for pizza or cheese is a sign of a deficiency of fatty acids. To satisfy this desire snack on raw walnuts, add wild salmon to your menu, and include flaxseed oil and ground flaxseed into the preparation of meals.
Though not common, cravings for non-food items like paper or soil also indicate a nutritional deficiency in the body. The medical industry has labeled this craving as pica, but healers know that it is only an extension of food cravings that have not been satisfied. A craving for wood, dirt, and ice indicate a need for iron. Nibbling on soap indicates a deficiency in zinc and possibly iron.
Another common issue that can cause a craving is dehydration. When experiencing a craving - before putting anything in your mouth - drink a glass of water and wait half an hour -- the craving might just be dehydration.
Our bodies communicate with us constantly, and if we listen, we can learn some important information. Here’s another way to reflect mindfully on what your body needs through cravings.