Everyone at some point succumbs to the pull of nutrient-empty, fatty, deep-fried, or overly sweet food.
Why We Crave
Craving for certain foods is a pretty common experience. Surveys estimate that 100 percent of young women and 70 percent of men had food cravings in the past year.
It is not imaginary. The pull of cravings is so strong because it occurs in your brain, not just in your gut.
In one previous study, scientists found that the brain areas associated with memory and pleasure are also, partially, the culprit behind food cravings. In particular, the hippocampus, insula, and caudate light up and become active when that intense desire to eat pizza or chocolate comes. Those memory areas of the brain associate certain types of food with rewards.
Experts also found that by blocking the opiate receptors in the brain, known for feelings of pleasure, people lose the desire to eat foods rich in sugar and fat.
Stress also plays an important role in food cravings. When you are stressed, your body responds by making you crave specific foods, particularly carbohydrates, which trigger the release of serotonin, a hormone with a calming effect.
This has already been observed in the lab. Scientists found that rats that are under high levels of stress prefer to eat fat and sugar. When they do, their brains release lower levels of hormones related to stress.
It is difficult to resist cravings because your brain itself is telling you to eat. Unfortunately, cravings often lead to binge-eating, which, done often enough, can turn into a bad habit. Short-term, it can make you feel groggy. It zaps your energy as soon as you metabolize all the fatty and sugary food.
Moreover, it can wreck your body clock. Eating food high in fats can keep you up or wake you up in the middle of the night. This has been observed in lab mice that were fed a high-fat diet.
Worse, it can lead to an addiction to eating and weight gain. Once you partake in a pleasurable activity, such as binge-eating, your brain will keep wanting it more and more. It triggers the release of dopamine and, eventually, the activity, which is overeating, will become a bad habit that is hard to shake off.
Giving in to your cravings every once in a while is not bad, and you can counter its impact on your body.
Drink Lots of Water
Water is often enough to cleanse your body of toxins. You must drink at least eight glasses of water, even when you have not overeaten, but it is especially necessary when you have consumed more food than you intended. You might get dehydrated from the excessive sodium found in fried food and junk food.
In addition, you can also get an IV hydration drip, specifically those formulated for detox and contain essential nutrients that your body needs to function daily.
After a binge-eating session, it might feel especially difficult to exercise. Your body feels heavier, and you do not have the energy nor the motivation to move. However, you have to exercise to burn the extra calories that you have consumed.
If you do not have the drive to exercise, try easy and mild exercises. Jogging is pretty basic. Everyone knows how to do it. But, it is effective. You can also choose to practice low-impact activities such as yoga and Pilates. The goal is to keep your body moving.
Add Probiotics to Your Diet
Probiotics introduce good bacteria in your gut which aids in digestion and nutrition. Consuming processed food is known to destroy the natural gut microbiome. You need to rebuild the community of bacteria in your gut for your long-term health.
Probiotics are present in yogurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh, miso, and pickles. You can also take probiotics in pill form.
Eat More Veggies
It is a good idea to follow a night of binge-eating with a bowl of salad the next day. Green leafy and cruciferous vegetables give you a dose of nutrients and fiber that will cleanse your gastrointestinal tract. Moreover, lettuce, kale, broccoli, spinach, cabbage, arugula, and others are rich in antioxidants that will counter the bad effects of binge-eating in your body.
Cravings happen, and they are difficult to resist. Once you overeat because of your craving, it can be unhealthy. The key is not to deprive yourself of food you want but to eat moderately.