We always hear about the “big three”, the macronutrients that rule the world, carbohydrates, protein, and fats, but those are not the only things we need to consume in order to survive. Micronutrients are almost as important, and are essential elements to our diet. Micronutrients include the following: iron, cobalt,chromium, copper, iodine, manganese, selenium, zinc and molybdenum. Vitamins are also considered micronutrients, but do not cause cravings quite as often as mineral deficiencies.

So, the question is: What are your cravings telling you? We often crave food that will fulfill a mineral deficiency that we are experiencing due to diet, genetics, or even pregnancy. While cravings like chocolate and homemade rolls are probably not deficiency related, many are, and should not be overlooked, particularly if the food you are craving is not something you normally love.

What does it mean if I am craving….

Fortified cereal, liver, or pumpkin seeds- Iron

Fish, nuts, oats- Cobalt

Meat, whole grains, Lentils- Chromium

Shellfish – Copper

Salt- Iodine

Tea, peas – Manganese

Leafy vegetables, nuts, cauliflower- Molybdenum

Brazil nuts, meat, eggs, fish- Selenium

Dairy, shellfish, meat, bread- Zinc

There are many other foods associated with cravings of these elements, but if you get a craving for any of those foods, take a step back and evaluate your diet. Do you fall into the pattern of eating the same things day in and day out? Are you restricting calories? Dieting? All of those can put you at an increased risk for deficiencies in both macro and micro nutrients. If you are worried about recurring cravings, just take some time to keep a food log. You might be surprised about what you are really eating.

Becca Capell
iFit Head Trainer