How often do you crave for certain foods like chocolates, junk food or desserts? When hunger strikes, your mind tells your body to eat one of these comfort foods. You may have heard that your body asks for food when it is deficient in a particular nutrient or mineral. That may not be entirely true. So if you are craving a chocolate, it does not mean that your body is sugar deficient. So how does the brain realise we are in dire need of a particular food? How does the body react when the desired food is eaten? We are sure these questions have got you thinking about how the concept of craving foods really works. Here’s what we found out.
When a craving strikes, it is your mind that tells your body needs to eat that food and that’s when you realise that you are craving something. The organ that is to be blamed is the brain, because there are certain regions of the brain that include insula, caudate and hippocampus that get activated as soon as you crave any food. These areas of the brain are responsible for linking memory and pleasure to food cravings. So, if you experience a food craving and further satisfy them at some points, it is likely that these areas of the brain will get activated again and again making you feel hungry or crave for certain foods more than once.
Beyond this reason, food cravings have something to do with emotion and desire. You crave for foods when you are emotionally affected. For most of us, food cravings kick in when we are stressed or anxious. It is a general tendency to eat foods high on carbohydrates as they are responsible for boosting our levels of the hormone serotonin that has a calming effect on our brain.
Another reason of craving certain foods is that when we are hungry for too long, we crave for our favourite foods that may include high fat diets or high carb diets and that’s when the brain’s three areas start to function.
How to Keep off from Food Cravings?
To avoid over-indulging or merely suffering from excessive cravings, it is imperative to nibble every 3-4 hours so that you don’t feel the urge to eat too much, too quickly; this is a way to trick your brain. Always keep a backup of healthy foods when you think hunger pangs will strike, you can nibble on them and feed your brain enough for it to stop telling you to eat pleasurable foods.
Remember, food cravings can lead to obesity and excessive weight gain; hence, let not the brain instruct you; instead trick it and win the hunger game.