What your pregnancy cravings say about your health

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Pregnancy cravings, though mostly harmless, can sometimes point to a mineral or nutritional deficiency in your body

While pregnancy brings with it a lot of expected issues such as nausea and backache, many women also crave for few foods, which they might have not liked earlier.

For instance, I never really liked milk during my college days and even my childhood. But when I was expecting I suddenly developed an addiction for it, so much so that I would gulp a glass whenever I would be a little hungry. Another friend of mine never had milk tea in her life. But when she was pregnant she craved for it like never before!

These cravings, though mostly harmless, can sometimes point to a mineral or nutritional deficiency in your body as well. Read on to know what your pregnancy cravings say about your health:

#1 Chocolate

If you crave for chocolate or other sweet things such as ice cream or caramel, it could mean that your body needs energy to cope up with the rising needs of your baby. It could also sometimes point to a magnesium deficiency, which can make you anxious and also affect your nervous system. Many experts say that women, who have low blood pressure during pregnancy, might have a tendency to crave for chocolates and other sweet foods.

How to handle it: Look for healthier alternatives to ice cream and chocolate such as flavoured curd or fruits such as bananas and water melons that are not only sweet, but also nutritious.

#2 Salt and savoury foods

A craving for salty/savory foods could mean that your body needs more sodium. The reasons for it could be dehydration, which is very common in the first trimester as mothers suffer from nausea and vomiting and loose a lot of fluid during that time. Sodium is essential for maintaining the body’s fluid balance and also helps in regulating the blood pressure.

How to handle it: While you might crave for chips, panipuri and farsan, make sure you also include other sodium-rich foods in your diets that are healthier such as popcorns, celery and carrots (yes, they contain small amounts of natural sodium).

#3 Meat, fish and eggs

If you feel like having meat, fish and eggs, it could mean that your body needs more iron, protein and omega-3 fatty acids. We all know that iron is crucial for the body to transport oxygen to the foetus and a deficiency could be dangerous. Craving for red meat could also mean that your body lacks zinc, which is essential for the immune system, healthy hair and skin.

How to handle it: You can have a lot of meat and fish but the key lies in moderation. Don’t go overboard with kebabs and tikkas. Go for healthier options like chicken salads and baked fish. In case you are vegetarian you can include protein and iron-rich foods such as paneer, dals, seeds such as pumpkin, chia and flaxseeds and tofu in your diet.

#4 Bread and other carbohydrates

For those who long for bread, pasta, potatoes and other such carbs, it means that the body needs the essential amino acid, tryptophan, which is crucial for the synthesis of the chemical serotonin that helps uplift the mood and makes sure the mother is happy all the time. It also helps in improving sleep quality and enhancing digestion.

How to handle it: You can opt for healthier foods such as bananas, eggs and walnuts that are loaded with this vital amino acid.

#5 Chalk, paint, lead and other weird things

If you crave for weird things such as chalk, paint and lead, it could point to an eating disorder called Pica. The reasons for this could be an iron deficiency, but doctors say that it could also arise from serious emotional disorders such as chronic stress or  obsessive compulsive disorder.

How to handle it: Go see a doctor now!

Also Read: How weird can your pregnancy symptoms get?

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