Here's What Your Food Cravings Are Trying To Tell You

Thomas Kelley/iStock

Been craving anything a little strange lately? Canned tuna, cottage cheese, pickles, peanut butter, milk, or anything else that you typically wouldn’t pick up? Though there’s often a lot of jokes surrounding the idea that women who crave strange foods might be pregnant, anyone can have food cravings and it doesn't necessarily mean that you are pregnant.

Though one of the symptoms of pregnancy does include strange cravings, it doesn’t not mean that you are knocked up if you’re craving pickle juice or ice. Strange cravings can signal other things our bodies might need like specific vitamins and nutrients. Here’s the lowdown on five strange cravings and what they mean.

1. Ice

Feel the urge to order a soda cup just for the ice at your favorite fast food joint? Don’t freak. Craving ice actually signals that you might be low on iron and that you might be running a bit anaemic. Low iron in the blood causes anemia, and we crave ice because it’s cold and refreshing in a mouth that’s inflamed, which are key symptoms of anemia.

2. Pickles

Thought I was joking about the pickle juice? Not exactly. Pickle cravings actually signal that your body might need sodium, or it can also signal a lack of potassium. Though there isn’t a whole lot of information surrounding this craving, many women who are pregnant say that the acidity and crunch of the pickle is what’s satisfying to them. For those of us who aren’t preggo, the salty, acidic taste might be satisfying because we’re really in need of some sodium.

Stephanie McCabe/iStock

3. CARBS

That one’s in all caps because though carbs are often craved when your blood sugar or insulin level is running low, it’s a very popular craving for people who are on incredibly strict diets that don’t allow for them to have certain aspects of the food pyramid. Namely, CARBS. Many people will swear them off in an attempt to flatten their bellies and drop weight, but diets that deprive one of certain elements of a balanced diet end up making up for it by causing you to binge at some point.

4. Fried Food

Craving fried foods can mean that you’re sleep-deprived, and all your body really needs is some shut eye. Fried foods will give you a burst of satisfaction and energy, and that’s because your brain has tied the taste of deep-fried foods with satisfaction and gratification, though it’s a temporary fix. Eating foods that have healthier kinds of oils are they way to go.

5. Cheese

Craving a cup of cold cottage cheese or a hot, gooey grilled cheese sandwich? You might be low on calcium and/or vitamin D. Cheese and other dairy products like milk and yogurt offer us nice amounts of both. If you need vitamin D, the good news is that you can sit in some sunlight for a little while and your body will produce it for you. As for calcium, a glass of milk or a vitamin supplement should do the trick.

Hopefully this gives you some insight into what it means when you crave specific foods!