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Pesky cravings mean something! Your body is trying to tell you what it's missing: Here are some of those hidden messages

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Cravings are the body's way of telling you it's lacking in key vitamins and minerals.

Cravings can be quite bothersome at times, but they're not there solely to bug you. Cravings are your body's way of letting you know it's missing something important.

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Highlights

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Our bodies maintain the balance of vitamins and minerals by sending messages to the brain.

"Craving mainly indicate that our body is lacking a specific mineral or nutrient," explained Nutritionist Shona Wilkinson to Daily Mail. "As descendents from cave men - when the aim was to survive a day on one meal - we are craving food that is either high in fat or high in calories to provide us enough energy. However, these days, we eat five times a day and we no longer need that additional energy or extra calories."

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According to Wilkinson, most food is processed these days, so we are left still missing necessary nutrients. "Instead of giving into our cravings, it is important to understand them and give the body exactly what it needs."

If you are craving...

Sweets

Your body is telling you it's low on chromium.

"If you're eating refined sugar and carbohydrates they will hit your bloodstream fast and cause an imbalance in blood sugar," Wilkinson explained for Daily Mail. "Your body will release more insulin to deal with this rapid rise in blood sugar."

Although your blood sugar levels will drop, the release of so much insulin will cause them to drop too low. Making you soon want more sweets.

"The more sweets you eat, the more you will crave them - it is a catch 22." Wilkinson advises taking chromium, a mineral that helps balance insulin levels.

"Other good sources of chromium include liver, kidney, beef, chicken, carrots, potatoes, broccoli, asparagus, wholegrains and eggs," according to Daily Mail.

Chocolate

Your body is telling you it needs magnesium.

Craving chocolate is something many people are all too familiar with. Around 80 percent of people lack magnesium in their daily diet.

"Magnesium not only can support the immune system by preventing inflammation but it also plays a crucial role in balancing the nervous system and easing anxiety," Wilkinson said. "It is also important for good bone health. The best way to deal with this craving is to reach for a square of dark chocolate, which is around 70 per cent cocoa."

Foods that are loaded with magnesium include dark leafy greens, baby spinach, kale, nuts and seeds, wild salmon, tuna, soybeans, avocados, low fat yogurt and bananas.

Carbohydrates

Your body is telling you it lacks tryptophan.

"Carb cravings are a sign of low levels of the amino acid, tryptophan, which is necessary for the production of serotonin," explained Wilkinson. "It plays a role in sleep and wake cycles as well as digestion. A lack of serotonin can lead to low mood and anxiety."

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While carbohydrates like bread, pasta and potatoes can play a role in your health, alternating them with turkey, eggs, bananas and walnuts is a healthier alternative to give your body tryptophan.

Meat

Your body is telling you it needs iron and zinc.

"Iron plays a vital role in supporting the immune system, as it helps to transport oxygen throughout the body," she explained. "Without it, we become fatigued and tired."

Wilkinson suggests including red meat into diets at least once a week.

Other ways to get zinc is from shellfish, lentils, spinach, pumpkin seeds, cheese and wholemeal bread.

Salty Foods

Your body is telling you it is missing sodium.

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According to Daily Mail, sodium is an important mineral that maintains water balance and regulates blood pressure.

"You can quickly replenish sodium by snacking on dried anchovies or salted popcorn, which are naturally high in sodium," Wilkinson said. "You can also find small amounts of this mineral in celery and carrots, which should help your craving."

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