Pregnancy Nutrition Chocolate Cravings, An Insatiable Appetite And What To Do About It!
One thing us women all have in common is our love of chocolate, sugary things and often wine too! We love these things so much we even get cravings for chocolate, sugar and wine, particularly around the time of our periods, or during pregnancy.
Have you ever been constantly hungry, so much so that all you want to do is eat?
And is your cravings for sugary things and chocolate so strong that you just HAVE to give in, no matter how hard you try?
This is something that nearly every pregnant women goes through at some point during pregnancy and most of us deal with it by trying to control the hunger, but what we are all failing to recognise is that our bodies and babies are trying to tell us that something is wrong!
The Hidden Warnings
1)Nutrient Deficiency If your body is lacking certain nutrients it will try and get those nutrients any way it can and the fastest and easiest way to get them is through food. So your body will tell you to eat. And eat. And eat. Until it gets what it needs. But unfortunatley if the food you eat doesn’t provide the nutrients your body is lacking, then you will find you have an insatiable appetite and you will want to eat all the time.
2) Hormone imbalance Hormones play a big part in regulating your appetite and this is a major factor in controlling pregnancy weight gain. Hormone regulation occurs during sleep. Pregnant women need a lot more sleep than non-pregnant women but the tendency these days is to squash pregnancy into an already hectic life. Getting to bed by 1030pm on at least 6 days of the week will get you back on track.
Chocolate cravings during pregnancy
Chocolate cravings during pregnancy or around the time of your period is often a sign that your body is in dire need of magnesium and iron. Magnesium helps your body to form bone, protein and fatty acids. It also relaxes your muscles and helps with blood clotting, (which can be useful if you suffer from leg cramps). Magnesium supplementation during pregnancy can also prevent premature contractions and is found to reduce the risk of low birthweight and premature babies.
Magnesium rich foods include pumpkin, squash, halibut, cooked spinach and black beans, but if you are deficient its a good idea to supplement with 200mg per day in tablet form. (RDA)
Iron is an important element as we need iron to make red blood cells and to transport oxygen around the body. If we are deficient in iron we cannot make new cells and our organs would be starved of oxygen. Iron deficiency is characterised by fatigue because the body is, literally, being starved of oxygen.
Pregnant women are routinely checked for aneamia (iron deficiency) during pregnancy so you should not supplement your pregnancy diet with iron unless prescribed by your pregnancy professional, (it is possible to have too much iron which then becomes toxic).
Cravings sweet things or alcohol during pregnancy
Another common pregnancy food craving is the need to eat something sweet or the craving for alcohol. The craving for a glass of wine can be surprising for a lot of pregnant women but it doesn’t mean you’re an alcoholic!
In fact, the main component in wine or alcohol is SUGAR! So if you are depriving your body of sugar in other parts of your diet, your logical brain will tell you that alcohol is the key. It’s an instant hit of sugar that is quickly metabolised and will give you the sugar rush your body is craving.
What it means…
1)You have a sugar dependency. Your pregnancy diet needs an overhaul. The only way to free yourself from sugar addiction is to not have any sugar in your diet for 30 days, so base your diet on clean foods that are untampered with and not denatured by manufacturing or processing.
2)If you already follow a clean food pregnancy diet, then it could be you are not eating enough complex carbohydrates. Pregnancy is not a time to follow a low carb diet, so balance your meals with complex grains like quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat and oats as well as root vegetables like sweet potatoes. Now is the ideal time to find out your Metabolic Type so that you can eat to your body’s individual needs.
3)You need sleep. Hormone regulation, body repair and regeneration all happen whilst you sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep your body is constantly playing catch-up. Your hormones are all over the place and your body is desperate for a quick energy fix to cope with everything that is going on
What You Should Do Next
The only way to be sure of what is going on with your body is to look for a pattern. So start a food, sleep and activity journal and watch closely for patterns.
Once you have 7 days worth of journals you will start to see a definite pattern that will point to what your body is crying out for, so now all you have to do is fill that need!