According to an article in Prevention Magazine the answer is YES…
Jayson and Mira Calton, nutritionists and authors of The Micronutrient Miracle (Rodale), explain how being low in the following 5 micronutrients can make you feel totally out of control when it comes to eating! (Oh – and they offer advice on how to change that).
#1 Calcium and Magnesium: Low levels of these two minerals—which often go hand in hand—prime you for sugar and salt cravings. Low magnesium levels, specifically, are known to trigger chocolate cravings. Both stress and eating too much sugar can deplete your calcium and magnesium stores further, worsening cravings and making you a prime stress-eating candidate.
Eat up: Get your calcium fix from dairy products like yogurt, kefir, and cheese; bone-in sardines; and dark leafy greens. Hit your magnesium quota by downing nuts, seeds, potato skins, dairy, and broccoli. (Can’t do dairy? Check out these 10 non-dairy calcium sources.)
#2 B-Vitamins: This class of vitamins is important because it helps your body deal with stress. B vitamins like B1 and B5 keep your adrenal glands functioning properly and B6 and B9 aid in the formation of certain neurotransmitters that help regulate mood and make you feel good. In periods of high stress, your body uses up these vitamins more quickly, making you prone to the effects of stress—like overeating—if your levels aren’t sufficient. Other B vitamin depleters include caffeine, alcohol, refined sugars, and medications like birth control pills and NSAIDS.
Eat up: B vitamins are found in a wide array of meats, seafood, dairy, and produce such as dark leafy greens, bananas, potatoes, avocados, egg yolks, chicken, salmon, and yogurt—so ensure you’re getting enough variety in your diet.
#3 Zinc: This mineral tends to be low among older people and anyone under a lot of stress—hello, that’s like everyone. It’s not so much that zinc makes you crave, but it does significantly dull your sense of taste, prompting you to add more salt and sugar to foods while seeking out extra sugary and salty items before you’re truly satisfied.
Eat up: This mineral isn’t easy to find, but it’s most prevalent in some animal sources like oysters, crab, liver, dark chicken meat, and to a lesser extent, eggs, green peas, and nuts.
#4 Iron: No wonder you crave that steak or burger when you’re PMS’ing. Being low in iron, especially common among pre-menopausal women along with vegetarians or vegans, is notorious for causing meat cravings.
Eat up: You can get a good dose of iron from meat, poultry, and even fish. Plant sources of iron aren’t as readily used by the body, but your best bets include dried fruits, cashews, pumpkin seeds, legumes, and iron-enriched pastas and grains. For optimal absorption, make sure you eat your iron with a source of vitamin C: Think steak with spinach.
#5 Omega-3’s: If you find yourself dialing up your favorite pizza joint for an 11pm pie on a random Tuesday, well, you may be low in omega-3s. Lacking this essential fatty acid is known for triggering cheese cravings. EPA and DHA (as opposed to the plant-based omega-3 ALA) are your best bets for quashing these cravings.
Eat up: EPA and DHA are most abundant in fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and canned tuna if it’s processed appropriately (Wild Planet and Safe Catch are good brands). Even pasture-raised eggs from chickens that have spent time in the sun can pack as much as 600 mg of omega-3s per egg—about a third of your daily value.
Start food journaling to see if you can ID what you may be lacking…we would love to hear if you are able to make the change and see a difference in your food cravings!!