I craved guava when I was pregnant. I was lucky it was in season and I could actually get it, but it’s not a cheap fruit to buy by the box. I ended up spending a small fortune trying to satisfy my pregnancy craving. At least it was a healthy one. Other pregnant ladies may not be so lucky, wanting ice-cream, chocolate and even non-food substances and having to control themselves. So where do pregnancy cravings come from and what do they mean?
Researchers have come up with a variety of answers to this question and have presented convincing evidence for their theories, so pregnancy cravings most likely occur as a result of several different factors.
It’s logical to expect that our body will use cravings to point us towards foods containing nutrients we lack. If you crave fruit, you probably need more vitamin C. Cravings for salty foods (pickles, anyone?) can be a result of increased blood volume and therefore, increased need for sodium. Craving sweets may be due to increased energy needs.
the not-so-normal behaviour pica (eating of non-food substances) can be an indication that you’re lacking important nutrients. Research has found a link between pica and iron deficiency
During pregnancy many of us experienced a roller-coaster of emotions. Heightened stress and anxiety may contribute to cravings of comfort foods like sweets and snacks. A study K. Hurley (2005) also reported a link between stress and meat aversion. I found this to be in line with my own experience. I was very stressed out during my third pregnancy. Muffins were in and meat was totally off the menu.
Your hormone balance changes during pregnancy and there’s evidence to suggest that hormones are responsible for changes in our appetites. They are also thought to affect our taste buds, but researchers haven’t been able to link particular hormones to any specific food cravings.
Should you give in to your pregnancy cravings? It depends on what you’re craving. Not much harm can come from eating too many guavas, but it’s not a great idea to snack on sweets all day. Try figuring out what it is about the food you’re craving that you really want and satisfy your body’s needs in the healthiest possible way.
Image by EvolvingScenes via pixabay.com