Are you a food junkie? A person who loves his dose of burgers, pizzas, potato wafers, French fries, chocolates or those fried snacks to satisfy your cravings? According to nutritionist Shilpa Mittal, the main motive for food cravings are stress, anxiety and emotional wants.. “These foods make you feel good because they increase the level of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that stabilizes mood and makes you feel peaceful and stress-free. Cravings themselves are a result of not eating a balanced diet, which ultimately leads to nutrients deficiency and craving. It is important that a person is able to understand the best diet for one’s body in order to stop avoidable cravings,” says Shilpa. Let us check out some popular foods along with their healthy alternatives.

Chocolate
Whenever you are low, is it the chocolate that relieves you? Then it is most likely that you are suffering from magnesium deficiency. Magnesium helps regulate glucose, insulin and dopamine, a neurotransmitter That is why Magnesium is also nicknamed the ‘mineral that relaxes’. Other causes for chocolate craving could also be low blood sugar, stress or hormonal changes.
Healthy Alternative:
Opt for nutritious foods that are fantastic sources of Magnesium. This includes dark leafy greens, seeds and nuts, fish, and beans. These will definitely reduce the craving for chocolates.
Fried foods
Oily Foods
When you crave for oily food, your body is signaling to you regarding the lack of essential fatty acids. These food items have higher sodium content. It has been observed that these cravings are more common among women who eat low-calcium diets. Try to include beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, which also helps in increasing Calcium count in your body.
Healthy Alternative:
Almonds, walnuts, salmon, flax seeds or its oil can all be used as healthy substitutes for oily food. Adding ground flaxseeds to one’s diet helps overcome this deficiency. Other excellent sources of calcium include milk, cheese, turnip greens and broccoli. One can control food cravings by limiting the portion size. De-stressing is essential. Choose low calorie food and drink lots of water or herbal tea when hungry
Sweets
When one has low blood sugar, the body sets off cravings for anything that is sweet. Another important factor that makes your body yearn for sweets is chromium deficiency. Chromium is the metal that helps in regulating blood sugar levels. There are other nutrients in one’s body the lack of which leads to cravings. This includes toxin removing Sulphur, energy producing phosphorous, carbon which is found in sugar, and serotonin regulateing tryptophan.
Healthy Alternative:
The best way to end these cravings is to include fresh fruits, raisins, sweet potatoes and dairy products regularly in your diet.
Pasta, Bread, Potatoes
Sometimes in order to lose weight, people go on a low carb diet for a long time This results in the body craving for potatoes, pasta, and bread, which are all high carb items. It is also possible that there is a lack of nitrogen in your body which is signaling your body to take some nitrogen. If overlooked for long, this can even result in malnutrition and protein deficiency.
Healthy Alternative:
When one craves a lot for refined carbohydrates, it is imperative that one adds more nitrogen and protein-rich foods in one’s diet. Items like meat, poultry, legumes, soy, and vegetables like spinach, cauliflower, and green peas all help give the body a carb boost..
Salty foods
There are many people who need a little higher salt content that usual. When one craves for salt and salty foods, they are most probably deficient in chloride and / or silicone.
Healthy Alternative:
Adding more fish, nuts and seeds to the diet might reduce the craving for salt. Decide on salt substitutes by using variety of herbs and spices. And to enhance taste, one can even add citrus flavours to the food..
While there is nothing that interests us as much as junk food does, it is important for us to have healthier options. We all know where junk food can lead us. However, little healthy changes to our diet can go a long way to the leading of a happier, healthier and longer life!
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