Home Remedies for Food Cravings

The ice cream, pastries, slice of pie, or piece of chocolate calling your name could simply be a food craving rearing its ugly head. Most of the time, the foods you crave are high in sugar and fat. To help fight the urges, you may want to become familiar with a few home remedies for food cravings.
A food craving is an intense yearning for a certain type of food. The most commonly craved foods contain sugar or salt. Some people have urges to eat protein, such as cheese and meats.

Causes and Symptoms

One of the most common causes of a food craving is that you are looking for a means of escape (typical response to depression or loneliness) or it gives you a sense of comfort. For example, some people will crave a specific food because it reminds them of their hometown and family. Other times, you crave food because you are in need of quick energy.

Sometimes, a food craving is your body’s way of telling you that you have a chemical imbalance or lack a certain vitamin or mineral. When certain glands weaken (such as the adrenals, thyroid or pancreas), food cravings may arise. This is commonly seen in diabetics.

Other causes of food cravings include [1]:

• Food addiction and eating disorders
• Fluid imbalance
• Natural predisposition to crave high fat, high sugar foods
• Fluctuations in blood sugar levels
• Hormonal changes, especially during a pregnancy
• Giving into a sweet tooth
• Overgrowth of yeast in the intestines (makes people crave sugar)
• Hidden ingredients keep you coming back for more (like caffeine and sugar)
• Food sensitivities that make you crave what you are not supposed to have

Food Craving Home Remedies

Giving into the occasional food craving is not a failure on your part, but can actually avoid the anxiety that can worsen your cravings. A tiny bite of cheesecake or scoop of frozen yogurt can go a long way. For the other times you long for “forbidden” sweets and snacks, consider the following home remedies for food cravings:

a) Mouthwash:

Curb a food craving by brushing or gargling with an antiseptic mouthwash[2].

b) Eating Balanced Meals:

You can keep cravings at a minimum when you eat a balanced meal with plenty of minerals and vitamins.

c) Peppermint:

To soothe a strong craving for sweets, eat a peppermint candy and follow up with a couple of ounces of fruit juice.

d) Cinnamon or Nutmeg:

There is a reason why cinnamon and nutmeg are favored spices used in holiday pies and desserts. Add one of the spices to a cup of yogurt or warm cup of milk to stay on a healthier path instead of diving into a slice of cake or pie.

e) Water:

Who can indulge a food craving when they’re stomach is filled with liquid? Drink a couple glasses of water to help lessen the intensity of a food craving. Sometimes, people confuse the desire to eat with actually being thirsty.

f) Herbal Tea:

The beauty of a freshly brewed cup of tea is that it contains no calories. You can sip on a cup of unsweetened herbal tea to ease a craving for food. Choose fruity flavors that put a different taste in your mouth.

g) Vanilla Extract:

The flavor of vanilla extract is enough to ease a food craving. To avoid indulging in your favorite foods, satisfy the desire to splurge by adding vanilla extract to a warmed cup of milk or slice of apple. This will help ease a craving for sweets.

h) Stay Busy:

You are less likely to snack on salty snack or sugary sweets when you are fully engaged in a different activity, such as reading a page-turner or playing a video game. Dive into the activities that keep you busy when you feel a craving coming on. Sometimes taking a walk to change your setting or environment can help you move past a craving.

i) Up Your Mineral Intake:

Some people crave certain foods when their body is lacking a specific mineral or vitamin. Taking a multi-supplement can lessen your risk of losing control.

j) Pickles:

If you experience the urge to indulge, lessen a craving for sweets by sucking on a sour pickle.

k) Fruit:

Taking a few bites of a juicy fruit, such as a pear or apple, can curb a food craving for sweets.

l) Popsicle:

The coldness and flavor of a Popsicle is a less damaging way to help you overcome a craving for something sweet.

m) Small Lollipop:

Keep a small lollipop handy (in your purse, glove compartment or work desk), which can deliver a quick burst of sweetness that can help you ignore a nagging craving for sweets.

n) Relax:

Stress can contribute to food cravings[3]. Therefore, learning different ways to meditate and de-stress can help manage your food urges. A few non-physical options include breathing exercises and mental exercises.

o) Music:

Listen to your favorite music when you feel a food craving coming on, which offers a relaxing distraction that allows a craving to pass.

p) Exercise:

The neurochemicals (such as serotonin, endorphins, dopamine and adrenaline) that the body produces during a session of exercise can help fight cravings and lessen the anxiety of avoiding your favorite foods. Regular exercise can reduce the number of food cravings a person experiences.

q) Call a Friend:

Some people give into their food cravings when they are depressed or lonely. Pick up the phone and call a friend or relative to hear a friendly voice. Strike up a conversation, share your day, or discuss a movie or book. Choose a loved one that has a habit of making you laugh. Your uplifted spirits will help you forget a craving.

r) A Small Taste:

If you must give into a food craving, only take the smallest of bites or taste. Sample one spoonful of ice cream. Eat three potato chips slowly. Eat one-half of a filling sandwich instead of the whole thing. Sometimes, taking a whiff of your favorite foods without tasting is enough to satisfy your brain.

s) Opt for Healthy Substitutes:

To appease a food craving without going overboard, seek out healthy alternatives. Choose frozen light yogurt instead of full-fat ice cream. Chew on sugar free gum instead of a chocolate bar. Eat baked cinnamon apples over a slice of apple pie.

t) Calcium and Magnesium:

If you’re not getting enough calcium and magnesium, you can develop a deficiency that has your body craving for certain foods. Increase your intake of calcium and magnesium to ease cravings. Try adding almonds, white beans, soybeans, and other mineral-rich foods to your dishes.

Resources

[1] http://www.thedietchannel.com/Healthy-Eating-7-Things-To-Know-About-Food-Cravings.htm

[2] http://www.cbsnews.com/news/stop-those-sugar-cravings/

[3] http://www.foodandnutrition.org/May-2013/Does-Stress-Lead-to-Food-Cravings-and-Weight-Gain/

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