We've all gone up against the vicious cravings monster and brutally lost. But with every bite of that sugar-filled snack we fought so hard to resist, our bodies are taking a huge blow. As good as sugary sweets and greasy foods may taste, they are detrimental to our bodies and our health. So how can we fight against our cravings and win? The first step is to understand what causes our body and mind to crave delicious desserts (and many other things!).

What is a craving?

Essentially, cravings are strong urges that push us to do something, in many cases indulging a certain kind of food or beverage. This compulsion is rooted in the primitive centers of our brain. We tend to stray to foods with sugar, starch, fats, and salts. In other words, foods that can cause long term consequences in our bodies and health. When we fulfill these cravings, we feel more balanced, more happy. But these feelings are only temporary. To figure out how to crush our cravings, we need to know what causes them.

1. Dehydration

Our bodies are made up of almost 70% of water. When we are dehydrated, signals are sent to our brain that we are thirsty. The brain often confuses a thirst signal as a hunger signal. Next time you get a hunger craving, drink water and make sure you are fully hydrated. Chances are, this craving will diminish! 

2. Nutritional Deficiencies 

Have you noticed that your cravings are occurring extremely often? This is a sign that you're not eating enough or that you are not consuming the proper amount and types of nutrients. Under-eating will create immense cravings for heavily fried and processed foods. Work on having a balanced diet and have a regular eating pattern. Strive to eat your big meals around the same time each day and fill the in between time with delicious (but healthy) snacks such as fruit or nuts. 

3. Stress

An increase of stress can cause an increase of cravings. I’m sure we’ve all been there: freaking out over an upcoming exam or deadline and turning to unhealthy food to ease our stress. In fact, the University of California concluded in its study that when rats are put in high-stress situations, they prefer to eat sugar and fat, and after consumption, the rats’ brains decreased production of stress-related hormones. But the bliss that junk food brings is short lived and we all end up feeling guilty and bad after our binge. Try to chew gum next time you’re doing work and feel the urge to chew something!

Craving Alternatives

You can still eat delicious food while maintaining a healthy diet. It is great to treat yourself every so often, just make sure that your treat won’t hurt your body.

Go Raw

If you're in the mood for desserts, try Go Raw's cookies. Not only are they delicious, but they're even healthy! The "Choco Crunch" is filled with 4 simple ingredients: Coconut, sprouted sesame seeds, dates, and cacao. These cookies are the easy choice over desserts that are filled to the brim with chemicals and sugar. 

KIND Fruit Snacks

If you're more of a sweet fruity kind of person then KIND Fruit Snacks are the bite size snacks for you. These fruity wonders have 3 simple and healthy ingredients (especially ones you can actually pronounce!). Not only do these taste amazing, but they won’t harm your body. 

Bottom Line

Everyone gets cravings, it’s simply a natural part of life. But that doesn’t mean that we need to succumb to them every time. Maintaining a healthy diet, quenching your thirst, cutting back on the junk food, and dealing with stress in a healthy manner are all ways to demolish those cravings. Don't let your cravings rule your life and leave you feeling bad. Battle your cravings and come out victorious!