Summer has arrived, along with a whole new group of seasonal foods. Visions of picnics, barbeques, and ice pops dance in the heads of many people, who consider these cravings to be natural and normal. What most people don’t know, however, is that the longing for these summer foods can actually indicate serious health problems, and even addictions.
When the heat begins to rise and a glass of cool water no longer does the trick, some people will opt for a bowl of ice cream, or a concession-stand slushy to defeat the heat. If a person is craving these and other sugars, it may be more than just an indication of the rising temperature says leading nutritionist, author, and founder of NAMED (Nutritional Addiction Mitigation Eating & Drinking).
Kantor has created a list of healthy and unhealthy summer foods, along with what summer food cravings could mean for your health. Recently, he discussed the list on Late Night Health Radio. Go here
to listen to the interview.
Sugar craving, says Kantor, often point to stimulation in the opiate receptors: Such stimulation is responsible for inflammation or a hormonal imbalance. For people with a substance abuse problem, craving and eating sugar will worsen it by furthering stimulating the opiate receptors, sending you into a vicious cycle of craving and satisfying those cravings.
Craving gluten or starchy carbohydrates, like baked potatoes or pasta, also indicates inflammation, as well as a stress hormone imbalance. When the body is looking for energy, or if insulin levels are not balanced, it typically hungers for carbohydrates. For those with a substance abuse problem, craving and eating gluten will have a similar effect to sugar.
Shaved ice and ice cubes, common summer cravings, indicate a form of pica, which is an eating disorder common among pregnant women and/or third world countries that have a malnourishment problem. People with pica often hunger for non-food substances like ice, clay, or even detergents, which signals an iron deficiency. In order to combat this, make sure to eat a balanced diet, and consider adding a multivitamin or mineral supplement.
When the body is lactose intolerant, it causes inflammation when dairy products are consumed. When this happens, people tend to crave even more dairy products to relieve inflammation, even though dairy products are what caused it in the first place. As with the other cravings mentioned, if a person with a substance abuse issue craves and fulfills the craving for dairy, they will face the same vicious cycle of increased cravings for the food (their "drug of choice"), and fulfilling those wants.
The best way to combat summer cravings is to maintain a healthy diet: A person must eat meals and snacks rich in vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and proteins. It is also vitally important to make sure to get enough sleep and practice stress management.
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