What are food cravings?
Food craving is a deep desire to eat a particular food item. It is also known as selective hunger because it is very different from normal hunger. This desire is particular to certain kinds of nutrients that the person wishes to consume. Food cravings, which can be considered as food addiction in extreme cases, are also related to psychological factors. People often crave for certain food because of stress, anxiety or depression. They may start idealizing certain food items as a reward or as their comfort food. Some attach specific emotional aspects to the consumption of these food items. Hence, food cravings could be the result of a number of reasons.
In cases of extreme food cravings, it needs a little more than discipline. It will be best to get help with food addiction. Nevertheless, we have written down tips to tackle food cravings.
Tips to tackle food cravings
Stay hydrated – It is important to keep the body hydrated while trying to curb food cravings. Dehydration and thirst may make a person feel hungry. Water should be consumed in regular intervals to avoid such situation. A person must have a quantity of water in ounces that is equal to half their weight. Also, drinking water at regular intervals will make the person feel full and reduces the chances of craving foods. To add, the person must practice oil pulling. It is a method of removing toxic matters from the body by swishing a few tablespoons of oil in their mouth for about 20 minutes on an empty stomach.
Exercise and rest – People who have frequent food cravings often associate food with comfort and de-stressing. They are encouraged to invest their time in other activities to fight stress and anxiety. Habits like walking and jogging are beneficial to one’s health and help shift focus away from the craving. Moreover, exercise increases the production of endorphins that help enhance taste and increase the level of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, that can reduce the consumption of food rich in sugar and processed carbohydrates. Hormone fluctuations may lead to sudden cravings, therefore, exercise followed by sound sleep helps to avoid such encounters with the cravings.
Avoiding sugary foods – Increase in appetite is caused by crashing of blood sugar levels and surges of leptin. Leptin is the hormone that signals the body whether it is hungry or if its hunger is satisfied. Food intake happens accordingly. This can be prevented by avoiding consumption of foods that are rich in sugar and processed carbs. Foods like almonds, dark chocolate, sunflower seeds, and the likes can be consumed instead of sugary foods. These can satiate hunger more effectively as they contain lower amounts of sugar and larger amounts of protein, fiber and other nutrients that are good for the body.
Going outdoors and meditating – It is important to bask under the heat of the sun while trying to tackle food cravings. It increases the level of serotonin, which is the chemical in the brain that aids in the reduction of anxiety, depression, and stress. Hence, it also lessens the chances of food cravings based on matters, such as stress. Furthermore, practicing meditation daily for a stipulated period of time helps in a major way. First, it shifts the focus of a person from the craving and helps them concentrate on other factors. Secondly, meditation has always increased tolerance and aid in the process of abstinence. Giving in to the craving will be reduced which is very is important.
Avoid certain food items – It is advisable to avoid food items that the person craves for. Enough time should be given to the taste buds to forget the taste of those food items. Instead, they should switch to healthier food options and keep eating them at regular intervals. After a point, people will notice that their taste buds will not desire the food that they used to crave before. They will now get accustomed to these healthy food items and have cravings for the good foods.