If you find it impossible to live without chocolate, you might be addicted to sugar. However, if nothing can stop you from eating chocolate during your PMS days or the hours before your period, this may indicate that your body is searching for nutrients that are deficient in addition to the psychological gratification that chocolate may provide.
Knowing that a chocolate craving could also indicate a magnesium deficit is typical when talking about this food item in particular. It should come as no surprise that chocolate is the first thing we turn to when we have such a shortfall as cacao is thought to be the food with the highest amount of magnesium per gramme.
Sweet treat or constant craving, many of us are hooked on the boost that chocolate gives, we have asked clinical nutritionist Dr Edwina Raj, Head of Services, Aster CMI Hospital to explain why there could be another reason for our chocolate compulsion.
Dr Edwina says, “Cravings are directly linked to micro or macronutrient deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, and mood swings.”
Magnesium is one such mineral that is needed for normal blood sugar levels, strong bones, muscle, and nerve function for over 300 enzyme reactions in the body; deficiency in magnesium increases craving towards food or sugar but not specifically for chocolates.
Do give in to the craving, but ensure it is high-quality dark chocolate that is 70% cocoa as chocolates with lower cocoa have excess sugar, which may give a quick high and lifts one’s mood for a shorter duration, but since it is highly processed, it is high in glycemic index and is addictive which may lead to other health disorders such as diabetes.
High-stress levels and hunger pangs could be some of the other causes of chocolate cravings. Weakness, stiffness, loss of appetite, muscle spasms, lack of sleep, headache, constipation, and fatigue are some of the early signs of magnesium deficiency.
Senior citizens are highly susceptible to low magnesium levels as it is hard for their bodies to absorb the minerals.
High sugar gives a quick high and lifts one’s mood for a shorter duration but not the right choice. Instead, opt for plant foods that are naturally high in magnesium.
You can snack on foods like nuts, figs, seeds, dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, whole grains, poultry, fish, avocado, and bananas.
If you consume these foods, your body’s daily magnesium requirements are fulfilled but a supplement may be needed if you are severely deficient.
Do consult with your doctor for supplements you could opt for.