(NaturalNews) It's easy to make the mistake of viewing food cravings as an enemy, but in many cases these urges to eat a particular kind of food can provide specific insight into where your diet may be lacking. Cravings can also point to underlying emotional and psychological issues. It's important to find the root of your cravings before trying to fight them, but once you've made the decision to go head to head with your food cravings, there are a few supplements that can help.
This mineral can reduce cravings by regulating your blood sugar. If you experience low blood sugar, you could crave foods with carbohydrates, sugar and caffeine to counteract the feeling. Chromium works to balance your blood sugar so these types of cravings are greatly reduced. In addition, the Journal of Psychiatric Practice published a study in 2005 which showed chromium was effective in relieving carbohydrate cravings for individuals with atypical depression.
Like chromium, L-glutamine can be used to combat cravings related to blood sugar levels. L-glutamine stabilizes the brain's blood glucose and acts quickly to eradicate cravings right where they start. Taking a 500-1,000 mg dose of L-glutamine at the time cravings occur most can be especially helpful. Many people notice cravings diminish within moments of taking this amino acid.
Frequent, intense cravings for chocolate is often a sign of magnesium deficiency. And since magnesium is necessary for many vital functions in the body, getting enough is important for everyone. Increasing your magnesium intake can also help you handle stress and get a better night's rest, both of which will curb those cravings. Magnesium citrate is the most common form of supplemental magnesium, although topical magnesium oil is steadily gaining popularity as well.
Often we indulge in unhealthy comfort foods because we are craving the sensation of elevated brain chemicals. Phenylalanine is an amino acid which raises endorphin levels naturally. Taking this supplement can be especially beneficial to those who struggle with emotional overeating.
One set of nutrients commonly missing from our modern diet is trace minerals. Our body requires these minerals - even if just in minute amounts - to perform a variety of functions. Processed foods and produce grown in poor soil simply won't carry the same mineral content as wholesome, natural food choices. When we are deficient in these important nutrients, we can crave salty or sugary foods. High-quality unrefined sea salt is an excellent source of trace minerals, and there are also supplements available to make up for any deficiency of these important nutrients.
Tryptophan and 5-HTP
Serotonin is a powerful neurotransmitter which provides feelings of well-being and satiety. Low serotonin levels can be caused by stress, dieting, lack of rest, poor nutrition, and certain medications. A lack of serotonin can cause an increase in appetite as well as carbohydrate and sugar cravings as the body tries to replenish this crucial brain chemical. In addition to correcting lifestyle habits that may be causing low serotonin levels, you can also supplement with the amino acid tryptophan and its derivative 5-HTP. Both of these are precursors to serotonin, and have been shown to naturally increase serotonin production. Calcium, magnesium and the B-vitamin complex are also helpful for boosting serotonin levels naturally.
F. Ceci et al. "The effects of oral 5-hydroxytryptophan administration on feeding behavior in obese adult female subjects." Journal of Neural Transmission 76 (1989): 109-17
J Psychiatr Pract. (2005): 11:302-314
Ross, Julia. (2000) The Diet Cure. Published by the Penguin Group.
About the author
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welco...