Learning how to fight food cravings is essential for our health. Food cravings are a natural urge that we have all experienced. It could be an overwhelming desire for something sweet, a hankering for something salty or a craving for pizza loaded with gooey cheese, but food cravings are a human occurence. We should all know by now that sugar and alcohol isn’t good for our health. There have been numerous studies showing the negative effects of these types of foods on our bodies. Considering the harmful effects, why do we still crave these unhealthy foods? Food cravings differ from physical hunger, which develops naturally over time. A craving will hit you fast and hard, and is completely unexpected. They can be triggered by many different things, emotions, stress, a reminiscent sight or smell. Some believe cravings are psychological while others believe they are brought on by nutritional deficiencies in our daily diet. In this report, we are going to look at the root cause of cravings and how we can better control them as well as specific ways to get around them rather than to indulge in the unhealthy foods we are craving. We will also talk about the harmful effects food cravings can have on our bodies and how you can curb your cravings to live a healthier life.
Let’s begin by looking at what causes cravings. Are they physical or mental or something else entirely? Well, that depends. People who do not have them believe they are all in your mind, and in some instances that may be correct. According to research, there are specific areas of our brains that are responsible for food cravings; our memory factors and the area responsible for sensing pleasure are two of those areas. According to research conducted by the Monell Chemical Senses Center, there are three areas of the brain, the hippocampus, insula, and caudate, that appear to be activated during the specific periods we experience a food-craving episode. Food cravings can also be triggered by emotions and desires. Stress and anxiety have been known to cause cravings and are times people turn to food for comfort. We are also guilty of creating our own cravings through repetition. If you indulge in a regular habit of movies and popcorn on a Friday night pretty soon you may find yourself craving popcorn on Friday nights.
Cravings can have many negative, harmful effects on your health and well-being. According to a study published by the US National Library of Medicine’s National Institute of Health on the effects of cravings and depression, it was found that “Fast-food and commercial baked goods consumption may have a detrimental effect on depression risk.” In other words, eating junk food, which is what most of us crave, may be linked to an increase in depression. Eating too much sugar, laden sweets, processed foods, fatty foods and alcohol can all have a detrimental effect and cause you to gain weight. Both salt and fatty foods can cause high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Sugary foods like diet soft drinks can lead to heart attacks, dangerous blood clots and other cardiovascular problems.Trying to control your craving for certain foods and not being able to stop can lead to thoughts of low self-esteem, believing something is wrong with you and other thought issues. Since we see here how harmful these cravings can be, it is important that we learn how to fight food cravings to overcome them in better, healthier ways.
So, how can we overcome these cravings? You can start by changing to an overall healthier diet. Most people crave things that they already eat, things that our minds associate with comfort foods. So by changing what you eat you change your craving. By gradually removing unhealthy foods from your diet, and replace them with healthier alternatives, you will eventually begin to crave the healthy foods. Forgo the cookies and snack on nuts instead. Stress is a huge reason for cravings. Learning how to reduce and deal with the daily stress in your life can help you overcome food cravings. Try taking some deep breaths when you feel the craving. Stretching is another method you can do to ward off unhealthy desires. Take a short walk to get away from the stress. Keep yourself busy. A lot of times the urge to eat can come from inactivity.
Throughout your transition to a healthier eating plan and a healthy lifestyle remember to be kind to yourself. It is okay to indulge in your favorite foods occasionally. Just don’t get carried away. Enjoy them on a limited basis. For example, I love Key lime Cheesecake, but will only allow myself to enjoy a slice once in a while.