We are all familiar with cravings, sometimes sweet and other times salt, sometimes it’s spice that will hit our sweet spot and sometimes it’s the sours! Cravings are wonderful as friends that visit us at times, satisfies our heart and our palette and then leaves promising to visit on occasional weekends when we just need an out from our routine.
But if this visitor decides to make his bed in our home is when we are doomed. Munching could then become a regular, grabbing on a chocolate after every meal may seem justified and before we know it, we have invited another 2-3 unwanted guests who without any shame will take advantage of your genetic risks and dance the ‘taandav’ in your system. Overweight, obesity, diabetes, irregular period cycles, cardiac problems, hypertension are common risks associated with incessant eating habits prodded on by uncontrollable cravings that are stubborn and just refuse to be shown the door.
There are parts of the brain that are responsible for what we crave for and this is most difficult to alter, not impossible though. In each hemisphere of the brain is the “caudate nucleus” that is responsible for forming habits, good and bad! So while you may eat popcorn every night while watching TV and enjoy the experience “just” during the holidays, it’s slowly but surely forming a habit that will become difficult to break. Just so with eating a bar of chocolate after every meal, begins where even you can’t place a finger but forms a habit so frustrating that you cannot break out of. So as an adult who makes well informed decisions, be careful while forming a habit, be conscious and let not poor eating habits become permanent visitors.
A night of poor sleep could make you reach out to junk not just when you aren’t sleeping but even the next day. Poor sleep can cause roadblocks in that part of the brain that makes complex decisions, thus making you junk even when you may seemingly not want to. Years of poor sleep could cause the kind of damage to your body that you will need extreme will power to break out of.
Certain food deficiencies could also cause cravings. And these are most common and the one that most people are familiar with. Mineral deficiencies like those in calcium, magnesium, chromium and zinc could cause sweet cravings that make us reach out to everything sweet that we see, when all we could be is thirsty. In most cases, drinking a glass or two of water helps. Marking these deficiencies and having the right foods and supplements to correct these deficiencies is uber important.
Iron deficiency could leave us feeling weak and tired making us reach out to a quick energy drink filled with sugar in an effort to pep us up and get us going, a drop in sodium levels on the other hand makes us dream of samosas and plates of hot pakoras, rain or no rain!!
Finally mind over matter. We must be able to over rule our cravings and not vice versa.
While these cravings are normal, they are and easily recognizable. Consistency while we navigate through our day making sure we are organized enough to sleep daily on time, managing our emotional quotient through self care and having balanced meals with freshly cooked food not allowing for deep seated deficiencies will help us manage our cravings giving in just enough to enjoy life, not to turn our life upside down.