Could your food cravings indicate a health problem?

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Your cravings for ice cream or potato chips aren't just because they taste good....

Your cravings for ice cream or potato chips aren't just because they taste good. Reoccurring food cravings can signal minor and major health problems. If you're worried about your cravings you can record them on a calendar to spot any patterns that emerge. Below are five cravings and their possible health causes. Talk with your doctor if a particular craving occurs frequently or is difficult to ignore.

Salty snacks

Cravings for salty foods can be caused by an increase in stress hormones. This kind of stress can wreak havoc on your adrenal glands. A study conducted by the University of Utah discovered these cravings decreased after a few moments of meditation or deep breathing exercises. You might also be able to curb these cravings with lightly salted kale chips. According to Mayo Health, serious conditions such as Addison's disease or Bartter syndrome can also create salt cravings.

Chocolate

If you frequently crave chocolate, then you may have a magnesium deficiency. Chocolate is full of magnesium, which could be the real item your body craves. A few bites of chocolate won't cure a serious deficiency, so seek out healthier sources of magnesium including dark leafy greens, seeds and fish. If you are unable to kick the craving, choose dark chocolate for fewer calories and more antioxidants.

Sour fruits

Do you often experience an overwhelming hankering for sour fruits? You may want to give your doctor a call. While fruit is a healthy and nutritious snack choice, this particular craving can indicate serious problems with your gallbladder.

Sweets

You might just be one of the millions who boast a bit of a sweet tooth. However, craving sweet treats could also signal blood sugar problems. The most likely culprit is hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. While it is fine to indulge in an occasional cookie or cupcake, you would be wiser to choose a serving of fresh fruit. Empty carbohydrates will cause your blood sugar to spike, causing further imbalance.

A second possibility involves your brain. Sugar stimulates the production of hormones that boost your mood, and steady your reactions to stress. If your mood is the culprit, take time to relax, breathe deeply and enjoy life.

Dairy

Cravings for dairy treats, like extra cheesy pizza, can occur if you are deficient in essential fatty acids. Better choices include walnuts, fish or flax seed. If it is ice cream you desire, then you might not be getting enough calcium in your diet. Save a few calories by choosing a single serving of yogurt or some dark leafy greens.

If you have questions regarding food cravings, contact a local Atlanta physician for more personalized information.

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