The foods you put into your body have a huge impact on your health and quality of life. If you’re anything like us at Keep Fit Kingdom you’ve decided you want to eat healthily for the sake of your well-being. While we want to be healthy there are still other pleasures of living that make life worthwhile, one of which is indulging our cravings from time to time. What does this mean for our eating regimes? Well here’s the good news. What if I told you, you can satisfy those food cravings while keeping your healthy eating habits? Read on for Food Cravings: 5 Super-Healthy Sweet & Savoury Foods that Hit the Spot!
The Troublesome Two
Sugar and salt. They taste so good, they give us that pleasurably rewarding feeling that we want again and again. So if they make us happy why are they such every-day villains?
The experts believe that sugar and salt can become highly addictive due to the fact that when eaten they send signals to trigger the brain to stimulate the dopamine receptors, our brain’s reward system. These give us a similar feeling to when you take drugs or drink alcohol and the body craves the feeling once it’s gone, and tells us to get it again. Okay so eat as much as we want and feel fantastic all the time right?
Well no. High consumption of sugar and salt can have many adverse effects on the body, even if our brain is telling us it’s good. Repetitive consumption can lead to building ‘tolerance’ which requires us to eat more to get the same effect which can lead to weight gain and other health issues. High refined sugar consumption can lead to increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression and weight gain and high salt consumption can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
The Good Stuff
We want to be able to satisfy those cravings and the good news is we can. Foods that are naturally sweet and savoury, still stimulate our dopamine without the same effects on our body as refined sugar and sodium. Naturally sweet foods are healthier and take more time to digest leaving us feeling satisfied and energised for longer. Here are some foods that are healthy and will help us to seamlessly kick those cravings.
They naturally contain sugars that will get those energy levels up to give you the boost you’re looking for and hit those dopamine receptors hard, thus killing those cravings! Dates also contain Vitamins B, A and C whilst being rich in magnesium, copper and selenium. They are super sweet and tasty so are ideal as a quick snack as they come or you can use them in brownies instead of regular sugar. Think of these as your natural multivitamin.
2. Sweet Potatoes
The sweet potato is a great source of fibre, vitamins and antioxidants. Its fibre promotes gut health and fibre-rich diets have been linked to reducing the risk of colon cancer as well as promoting regular bowel movements. Sweet potatoes are especially sweet when roasted and browned. Make sweet potato pie or bake them whole and top with cinnamon, pecans and creme Fraiche, delicious!
These might seem a strange one to be listed here, but almonds have a naturally subtle sweet flavour and when roasted they turn even nuttier and sweeter, especially with the skins on. Almonds are also rich in the amino acid Tyrosine. Tyrosine increases the levels of dopamine production in the brain. Roast them, slice them and top your cereal and fruit with them for a dopamine-increasing breakfast so you won’t crave a chocolate bar later!
The superfood of the sea. Seaweed is rich in Tyrosine and Iodine, as well as being packed with vitamins A, C, E and the minerals folate, zinc, calcium and magnesium. Seaweed is 85% lower in sodium than salt but satisfies those savoury food cravings perfectly. Crumble dried seaweed on top of your rice, noodle or salad dishes for a great salt substitute or eat the dried nori sheets as an umami-rich snack.
5. Sun-Dried Tomatoes
A very different taste to regular tomato, the sun-dried tomato’s flavour is more intense, tart and slightly salty.
A fantastic source of nutrients including lycopene, iron and vitamins C, A and K. They also contain calcium and phosphorus which are building blocks for healthy bones. A great way to get a quick savoury fix is sundried tomatoes on toast, or you can add them blended into a tomato sauce to boost the flavour and reduce the need for salt!