Food cravings are a normal part of our lives, and it’s not something to be extensively worried about. It’s okay to indulge in cravings from time to time, but a balanced diet is a priority you should keep in mind.
Hormones are chemicals primarily produced by endocrine glands and secreted into the blood. They are responsible for adequately upkeeping and controlling various aspects of our everyday lives, such as reproduction, growth, and development. They’re also responsible for the proper functioning of our metabolism and digestion; that’s why it’s essential to ensure that you do not suffer from any kinds of hormonal imbalances, and if you think you may, you should seek professional attention.
We assembled a list of the three most common hormonal factors that influence the ways you eat and what you eat- so if you couldn’t restrain yourself from grabbing that extra piece of chocolate last night, we might just shine a spotlight on the reason behind it!
A craving for salty food is one of the most common desires you may experience. If you’ve ever wondered why do I crave salt so much, we’re here to help you understand your bodily functions and let you know – that the explanation may be much more straightforward than you’d imagine.
It all has to do with the simple (but very complex) hormone, aldosterone. This hormone is responsible for the process of helping the kidneys retain sodium while simultaneously getting rid of potassium. You may have heard of the terms that your body is ‘retaining water,’ which is precisely what happens in this scenario. If you’ve ever felt bloated, it may be because you consumed too much salt, and your body is not metabolizing it fast enough, making you retain the extra fluids in your organism.
However, there’s also an aspect to that, where underproduction of aldosterone occurs. This is recognized explicitly for low blood pressure, as well as salt craving in this case. So if you ever found yourself at night, looking through your cupboards, hoping to find that extra bag of chips, it could be because you are experiencing a deficiency in aldosterone production.
Menstrual Cycle Cravings
If you’re a woman, you may have noticed that you crave certain foods, before or during your period, more than you do otherwise. If you do, that’s completely normal and can be easily explained.
A 2016 study found out that the hormonal changes in your estrogen and progesterone levels that mostly occur before your period result in a craving for high-carb and sweet foods. This is also related to yet another hormone, which is called serotonin. You may have heard the name before because serotonin is a chemical that increases the feeling of happiness, which we all need more often than we would think. One of the ways serotonin is released is by consuming our favorite foods, and we may crave some of those much more before our periods than at other times.
Either way, it doesn’t hurt to increase your happiness levels while on your PMS, so maybe a little snacking here and there won’t hurt us at the end as much.
Hormones and cravings can be a vicious cycle of one affecting the other. If you’re on a diet, you may be trying to set aside your desires but may just be deducting the wrong foods from your diet and substituting it with a product that doesn’t satisfy your body’s needs.
It’s always important to listen to your body and try to meet its requirements; that’s why you should ensure you’re getting all the essential nutrients in your diets, such as lean protein, complex carbohydrates, essential fats, and any other nutrients that you need. Otherwise, a lack of adequate nutrition may lead to hormonal imbalances, and thus cravings, which will affect any weight loss goals you may want to achieve.
A healthy diet and hormones go hand in hand. You should always ensure you’re getting the right fuel to power your body, and not be afraid to indulge in some snacks occasionally when you have some cravings for them.
It is vital to listen to your body, as avoiding its signs may lead to severe problems and long-term damage. Hormone imbalances may lead you to eat a bit more than you’d usually do and opt for foods that wouldn’t necessarily be considered a ‘healthy’ option. However, we placed the word, healthy, in inverted commas, as no food should be only labeled healthy or unhealthy, but it’s how you go about it that makes the difference.
It’s more than okay to indulge sometimes in snacks that society deems harmful, but you have to do it with a healthy mindset.