Food cravings are generally considered one of the biggest threats when we are on a diet. However, the same food cravings can be our ticket to better health and a better understanding of how our body really works. Learn to decode your body's signals and to make better choices by understanding what your cravings really mean.

Food cravings are one of the main reasons most people have trouble sticking to their diets and making healthy choices. Our dietary habits might be partially to blame for for this unproductive behavior but this is often not the whole story.

Many times, our body is trying to signal the need for certain nutrients by making us crave certain foods that might contain this nutrients. While sometimes the deficiency is pretty clear-like craving red meat because you need protein-often it's much harder to figure out what exactly you might need at a particular time. Here are some of the most common food craving and the possible nutrients you might be missing on:

Spicy foods

If you are not normally a fan of spicy food you might find this new craving a bit odd. However, understanding this craving can be very valuable.
Craving spices can be the body's response to fighting inflammation as hot peppers and other spicy ingredients generally contain active substances that minimize inflammation or reduce pain. Another explanation might be a lack of sulfur.
Garlic, onions, cabbage or cauliflower are a great choices when trying to meet this demand.

Chocolate cravings

Chocolate craving are generally seen as a sign of sugar cravings or the need for mood booster. However this craving can also be an indicator that you might be lacking an important mineral - magnesium.

Magnesium deficiency can be quite serious due to the fact that magnesium is involved in the activation of over 300 enzymes, bone health, transmission of nervous impulses as well as regulating blood pressure. Pumpkin seeds, lima beans, raw nuts, spinach, brown rice or tofu are healthy alternatives that can help you replenish this mineral in your body.

Sweets cravings

If you have uncontrollable cravings for sweets you might be missing out on a variety of minerals such as chromium, phosphorus, tryptophan, sulfur or carbon. Most of these nutrients cab be found in many fresh fruits and vegetables but for phosphorus can be found in greater quantities in poultry, grains, eggs or dairy.

A deficiency of phosporus or sulfur can also be signaled by a craving for coffee or tea.

Salty foods

Whether we are taking about popcorn,chips, crackers, salt is a common craving. While for many people this is an artificial craving given by the excessive use of sodium in their diets, in some cases it might be a deficiency in chlorine or iodine. Asparagus, mushrooms or soybeans can help you meet your nutritional demands for iodine while chlorine can be found in tomatoes, celery, olives or seaweed.

Bread

Bread and other simple carbohydrates cravings might be a signal that your serotonin levels are low. Our body craves simple carbohydrates because these are rapidly absorbed in the bloodstream, boosting energy levels immediately.
To combat these cravings in a healthy way make sure that you include low glicemic index foods as well as a protein source in your meals. Protein rich foods can also help you keep night cravings at bay.

Oily food cravings

Oily food cravings might indicate one of two things: you may either be deficient when it comes to good, healthy fats like Omega 3s or you might be calcium deficient. For good sources of healthy fats you can try eating walnuts, flaxseed, oil or fish.
To cover a calcium deficiency you can turn to dark leafy vegetables, dairy, tahini, sesame or legumes.