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You know how it is. You come home after a hard day at work, knock the kettle on, and raid the fridge or the cupboard for something—anything—chocolaty! You’re craving a much needed treat at the end of a hard day. Or are you?

Recent dietary research has suggested that there might be more to your chocolate craving than just a sweet tooth or sugar boost. Nutritionally, chocolate is high in magnesium, and when you find yourself thinking about little else besides, a new theory suggests that it could be that your brain is sending you a subtle signal to top up your magnesium levels.

Craving Magnesium

Magnesium helps modify blood sugar levels, nerve function and blood pressure and is involved everything from making bone to dealing with dietary protein—so keeping yourself topped up is very important. Chocolate isn’t the only food high in magnesium of course: you can also keep on top of your magnesium craving by eating the likes of green leafy veg, avocado, brown rice, figs, almonds and other nuts and seeds. So why are you craving chocolate more than a handful of kale or half an avocado?

Well, aside from personal taste, it’s possible that at times of deficiency your brain switches to its easiest or most frequently used source to fill in the gap in your diet. Put another way, if you’re short on magnesium, and your brain has learned that chocolate is your most frequently eaten high-magnesium food, then that’s the craving it sends out to the rest of your body.

It’s an interesting theory—and it’s just the tip of a nutritional iceberg.


So what could other cravings mean?

Sometimes, you just want a treat. But sometimes, when you’re craving something not-too-healthy, it could be that your body is sending out a signal that you’re running low on one of its most important nutrients.


Take a look at this table to see what you’re really missing out on…

ChocolateMagnesiumNuts, seeds, avocado
SweetsChromiumBroccoli, grapes, cheese, liver, chicken
CarbonFresh fruit
PhosphorusChicken, beef, dairy, nuts
SulphurCranberries, kale
TryptophanCheese, raisins, spinach
Bread, toastNitrogenFish, meat, beans
Oily, fatty foodCalciumMeat, dairy, nuts, green veg
CoffeePhosphorusChicken, beef, dairy, nuts
SulphurCranberries, kale
IronMeat, fish, green veg
AlcoholProteinMeat, fish, dairy, beans
AveninOats, granola
CalciumMeat, dairy, nuts, green veg
PotassiumOlives, green veg
Fizzy drinksCalciumMeat, dairy, nuts, green veg
Salt, salty snacksChlorideTomato, rye, celery, lettuce
TobaccoSiliconNuts, seeds
TyrosineCheese and dairy, nuts, soy



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