What's Your Food Craving?

Is it imli, tomato chutney, or plain old achaar?  We guess we made your mouth water on that!   Sudden craving for tangy food during pregnancy is a known behavior.

Cravings are the urges to eat some specific food — stat!

Cravings begin during the first trimester (first 3 months).  Do not worry unless you develop craving for a nonfood item like mud or dirt.  Most often, it does persist up to the fourth month of pregnancy.

The raging hormones, due to pregnancy, are messing up your sense of taste and smell and causing cravings.  Cravings have preferences: the foods you used to like once upon a time are repulsed, and the foods you hated the most are now loved. 

You consult a doctor when you have cravings of an unusual type of nonfood items like soap, ashes, clay, laundry starch, and dirt.  This is called pica.   It may indicate a nutritional deficiency like iron deficiency.  The 4 S’s - sweet, salty, sour, spicy — cravings during pregnancy - can run the gamut.

  • Chocolate: Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and improves heart health and satisfies your craving better.  Do not opt for milk chocolate.  Chocolate craving is probably attributed to a pregnant woman's increased caloric needs.
  • Pickles: These are typical craving culprits along with potato chips and olives.  The need for sodium during pregnancy (due to volume overload) makes these salty foods a common go-to.
  • Eggs: Absolute cooking of the yolk and white is essential. After cooking, they must not be runny.  They are a fantastic source of protein, which is one reason they might be a commonly craved food.  Inadequate cooking leads to salmonella bacterial infection (organism causing typhoid).
  • Cheese: Avoid soft cheese due to Listeria bacteria (that cause inflammation of the brain) thriving in them.  The need for calcium makes a pregnant woman reach for the cheese. It unfortunately causes weight gain.  Get your calcium from milk, calcium-rich veggies like leafy greens and broccoli to help balance it out.
  • Bacon: This is a crave-worthy protein and fat diet.  Healthy fats and lean protein is the way out.  The choice for you is — bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich anyone?
  • Lemons: A yen (longing) for sour foods makes pregnant women reach for lemonade, limeade, raw lemons, and imli (tamarind). This craving has been found to be more prevalent in the second and third trimesters.
  • Ice Cream: Ice cream is sweet and has a cooling effect.  Milk products, in general, usually top the pregnancy craving charts, most likely because of their high calcium content.
  • Fruit: The need for vitamin C signals the craving for fruit.  Water melon and grapes in particular provide a lot of vitamins.
  • Chili Peppers: Spicy foods, such as chili peppers, salsa, and cuisines known for fiery entrees like tomato chutney are a typical craving for many pregnant women.

 

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