Ever wondered if there’s an actual reason behind pregnancy cravings? Is there an explanation for wanting to dip apples in ranch dressing or constantly reaching for chocolates, french fries, and pickles? Some experts say that pregnancy cravings can be linked to hormonal changes and the heightened sense of taste and smell among expectant moms. Other theories mention that certain cravings could possibly signal nutrient deficiencies although there’s not enough scientific research to back up this claim just yet. Pregnancy cravings are a real phenomenon, though. So, let’s break down some of the most common pregnancy cravings and how to satisfy them in a healthy way.
The number one sweet craving is none other than chocolate! There are times when cravings for indulgent treats like chocolate occur in pregnancy because you may have cancelled it out from your regular diet, and now that you’re pregnant, you’re finally giving in. Chocolate also triggers hormones that make us happy, and who wouldn’t want a boost of positivity especially when you’re going through so many bodily changes, right? Sweet cravings could also signal a need for carbohydrates and more calories. Instead of candies and cakes, try going for fruits first and maybe some dark chocolate which contains antioxidants that can help improve immunity.
A healthy amount of sodium is needed during pregnancy to regulate the amount of fluid in the body and help in your baby’s development. If you’re craving for salty snacks like fries and potato chips, it might be because you need a little more sodium in your body. But do note that a healthy intake of salt is less than 5 grams (1 teaspoon) a day. More than that may lead to high blood pressure and heart problems. So, whenever you’re craving for something salty, be sure to control the amount that you eat to keep sodium in your body at a healthy level.
Dairy is another typical pregnancy craving. Searching for ice cream, cheese, and other milk products sometimes signals a need for more calcium. Most of the time, you just simply want some comfort food like the macaroni and cheese dish from your childhood or a pint of your favorite ice cream. Always remember that too much dairy can lead to extra weight gain, however. It’s not bad to indulge once in a while, but you can balance out your diet by incorporating more leafy green veggies which are rich in calcium. Instead of ice cream, you can also opt for yogurt as an alternative every now and then.
When you’re pregnant, your taste preferences go through changes as well. So something unappetizing to you before could be very appealing now. Developing a liking for sour tastes could be the body’s way of telling you to have a more varied diet to surprise your taste buds. Don’t be surprised when you’re suddenly craving for pickles, and lemons, because your taste preferences will keep changing throughout your pregnancy.
One theory behind spicy cravings is that it helps pregnant women lower their body temperature. Spicy food can make us sweat and therefore cools down the body. Again, taste preferences change during pregnancy. So, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if you suddenly develop a higher spice tolerance. Just don’t go overboard. Eating too much spicy food can lead to heartburn and gastrointestinal problems. Make sure to stay well-hydrated every time you eat a spicy meal, prepare the food properly, use high quality ingredients, and always wash your hands after handling ingredients like peppers.
Now this is a good craving to have! Including more fruits in your diet could be your body telling you to load up on vitamins and minerals. Craving for fruits will help you achieve your daily nutrient goals, boost your immunity, regulate weight and so much more. Just be careful not to let your sugar levels spike up, either. Always opt for fresh fruits instead of canned, sugary ones. It’s also best to consult with your doctor about which fruits are safe to include in your diet especially for pregnant women with gestational diabetes.
You may have heard of strange combos like pickles in ice cream, cheese puffs dipped in yogurt, and other bizarre concoctions. This is common among pregnant women, because of hormonal changes and constantly evolving food preferences and aversions. There’s nothing to worry about craving for weird combos as long as you’re still making healthy food choices. This kind of craving may come up now and then but it’s only temporary.
The most important thing to remember is to have a balanced diet with various fruits, veggies, and protein along with regular exercise. It’s okay to satisfy those pregnancy cravings, just be sure to do so in moderation and always consult your doctor for your nutritional concerns.
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