Ways to Curb Naughty Food Cravings
(food cravings, sugar, salty foods)
Food cravings are one of the biggest obstacles that stand in the way of fitness goals and good health. Unfortunately, our markets are filled with salty foods and those laden with sugar and other sweeteners. These foods can stimulate more cravings and lead to lethargy, sluggishness and even guilt as we feel defeated and out of control. But it doesn’t have to be like that.
There are tricks and techniques that anyone can use to help curb those cravings that may feel like the bane of your existence. Some tricks help improve mental discipline when used regularly, but other techniques can literally help curb the cravings on a physical level. Here are some of them.
· Hydrate! While it is known we can stay hydrated by drinking water when thirsty and consuming plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, many Americans still experience mild dehydration. This is often due to the intake of beverages that are high in caffeine and sugar, with insufficient quantities of fresh produce. Each of these factors increase the need for hydration with water.
At the same time, many people confuse hunger with thirst, leading to snacking when the body is not truly hungry. To counteract, drink more water and reduce caffeine intake, skip zero-benefit drinks like diet soda and increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables you eat every day. Not only will this help with overall cravings, but you will gain energy as well.
· Green tea is an appetite suppressant that has the added benefit of helping you lose body fat. It seems that the ECGC compounds found in green tea have an effect on the hormones, dopamine and norepinephrine, which can reduce one’s desire for food. Try sipping on green tea throughout the day for craving control.
· Healthy fiber foods help you stay fuller for longer. But foods like bread and cereals might stimulate cravings, so stick with healthy fibers found in apples, beans, almonds and fresh vegetables. The more you eat, the less room – and desire – you will have for naughty foods.
· Protein is an important component of every cell in your body. From building muscle to skin cell turnover, protein is necessary to keep all systems healthy and strong. In fact,studies show that consuming protein throughout the day can reduce cravings by up to 60%! Try spreading out small portion of healthy proteins throughout your day. Healthy proteins include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, legumes, yogurt, eggs and tempeh.
· Low GI foods have numerous health benefits, and one of them is craving control. GI stands for glycemic index, and low GI foods are those that do not quickly raise blood sugar. Not only that, but a study in theAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that high GI foods with lots of sugar and processed carbohydrates increase areas of the brain that are associated with reward and cravings. While you don’t need to restrict yourself to only low GI foods, do eat a dinner consisting mainly of low GI foods to help curb your evening cravings.
· Healthy snacks can help curb appetite and satiate cravings. Make your own protein bars, low sugar desserts or Keto desserts, which are known to satisfy a sweet tooth and keep hunger at bay. Consume snacks with healthy fats, which ward off cravings while providing important nutrients. The double benefit of healthy snacks is that if a craving is physiological, it may be due to a nutrient deficiency, so high nutrition snacks can fill in any nutritional voids you might be experiencing.
· Exercise. When cravings hit, try taking a walk or run, because both can help control cravings. Incorporating regular strength training also has an effect, while it seems that 10-40 minutes of moderately intense exercise can lead to overall improvement in self-control. This may be due to increased blood flow in the brain, including the prefrontal cortex, which is associated with impulse control, among other things. But don’t overdo it, because too much exercise can have the opposite effect and stimulate hunger.
· Wait a while. Many times, stress or fatigue can trigger cravings. When this happens, a trip to the fridge often seems like an instant cure. But waiting for 15-20 minutes can help you talk yourself out of giving in or choose a healthier alternative. And honestly, many times the craving will simply go away as you attempt to distract yourself for the allotted time.
· Fast for health. When all else fails, a quick fast can help reset digestion and curb food cravings. While most experts advocate water fasts, herbal teas and diluted juices can help keep hunger at bay, if you’re not used to fasting. But it gets better. Fasting stimulates autophagy, which is your body’s ability to detox, and fasting is a well-known anti-aging technique. Some people take advantage of weekly 24-hour fasting, while others partake in intermittent fasting. Both have a high share of healthy benefits. However, if you are on medications, see your doctor first.
· Body cleansing can help reset digestion and reduce food cravings, too. This technique might be more effective for those who just cannot go without food, and involves eating light foods to encourage autophagy. When done right, a body cleansing diet that incorporates plenty of easy-to-digest foods like fruit, vegetables and soups can help reduce belly bloat and motivate you with extra energy. This might just be the jump start that many advocates talk about when using a body cleanse diet.
There are many ways to curb cravings, and what works for some may not work for others. The best approach is to try many techniques and see what works for you. It may take time to find your best method, but as they say, practice makes perfect, so keep trying and don’t give up.