By Nutritionist, Samantha Gemmell
Could you be low in magnesium? If you have a stressful lifestyle, exercise regularly, experience muscle tightness and twitches, eat a less than ideal diet and/or crave chocolate, the answer is likely yes.
So many of us are deficient in magnesium, thanks to lifestyle factors and low magnesium diets. The problem is, magnesium is needed for everything from muscle relaxation to energy production and neurotransmitter creation. It also builds our bones and lowers our blood pressure.
If you crave chocolate, there's a decent chance that magnesium cravings explains at least part of the reason. Cacao is packed full of magnesium, with just 100g offering more than the required daily intake. It's one of the world's richest dietary sources.
If you feel tired, appear pale, and crave chocolate, there's probably a good reason. Iron deficiency is still very common these days. It may be due to a poor intake of iron rich foods, poor absorption, or due to losses of iron stores.
Whatever the cause, your chocolate cravings could be your way of self-medicating. Cacao is a good source of iron, which your body may recognise. Combining it with a vitamin C rich fruit snack like oranges can increase the absorption of iron.
Chocolate has a fair amount of sugar in it. Unfortunately, the more sugar we eat, the more we crave it. Eating high sugar foods, particularly processed foods, makes our blood sugars spike and plummet. We become more hungry more often.
However, the magnesium in pure cacao can help to balance out blood sugar levels. By skipping the sugary option and going for the original ingredient instead, you can nip sugar cravings in the bud.
Life these days is stressful. When things get stressful, many of us turn to food. Whether it's to reward ourselves, or self-soothe, many of us psychologically associate chocolate with comfort.
Is this necessarily a bad thing? Not if it's occasional. But if every second day is a bad day, the sugar and kilojoules may add up and lead to unwanted weight gain.
Anyone can crave chocolate. But for many of these factors in cravings, they are most likely to surface in women, particularly during PMS. This is because women go through a lot of magnesium and iron during their cycle, and their blood sugars can fluctuate.
The good news is, getting plenty of nutrients to relax and re-energise you can help relieve PMS symptoms. In fact, you don't even have to eat sugar-filled chocolate to get it.
Chocolate is good for you in small doses, but many of us aren't so great at the 'small doses' part. Once a block of chocolate is opened, it's up for grabs. That's because chocolate is designed to have an ideal combination of fat and sugar to stimulate your taste-buds.
If you're looking for a healthier way to satisfy your cravings, we have your answer. You can enjoy the taste of chocolate, and many of the nutrients of cacao, in just one cup. Cacao tea is a great way to soothe away chocolate cravings without lots of sugar or fat.
You can also use cacao tea as a base for your smoothies, giving them an extra chocolatey flavour – yum!
Have you tried cacao tea? Have you found it helps curb those chocolate cravings?
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