The myriad of hormonal changes you go through when you are pregnant can impact your taste and smell to a great extent. You may experience extreme cravings for certain types of food and aversions to others. The foods you crave do not necessarily have to be nutritious or good for you. You can even crave non-food items, such as clay, dirt, and laundry starch. There is no reliable source of data which says that a woman craves food according to the nutritional requirements of her baby, and none that says that these are harmful. However, a recent study shows that a pregnant woman’s brain chemistry is what causes these cravings. An appetite stimulant, neuropeptide Y, increases significantly in a pregnant woman’s brain, which leads to extreme cravings for certain foods.
Pregnancy food cravings can be very different from regular cravings; they are much stronger. You can crave a particular food item at any time of the day or night, and it will not go away until you eat that particular food. The list of food items women crave during pregnancy is endless, and here are some of the top ones.
Pregnant women tend to crave pickles for their crunch and sour, tangy taste. Pickles can help fight nausea and keep the body refreshed. Low in calories, they are not much of a concern when an expecting mother eats them.
Sweets, especially chocolates, are one of the most common pregnancy cravings. Pregnant women can crave sugar as their body will have low blood sugar and low energy. Chocolates are high in antioxidants and help boost your mood. Since they contain caffeine and are high in sugar, you should consume them in limited amounts or should replace them with healthier options, such as fruits.
Expecting mothers love chewing on ice. Even though ice does not provide any nutritional value, it can provide some relief from inflammation of the mouth and tongue, which can be caused by anemia.
4. Ice Cream
The cool, creamy, melt-in-the-mouth texture of ice cream has many pregnant women emptying tubs of it. To top it off, there are plenty of flavors to choose from. Switching to healthier options, such as Greek yogurt or low-fat frozen yogurt, can not only satisfy your cravings and but also provide you with nutrients.
5. Spicy Foods
Hot peppers, spicy chicken wings, or hot sauce can have pregnant women craving for more. Such hot foods make the body sweat, resulting in a cooling sensation. Since it can get difficult to stay cool during pregnancy, you can try adding some spices to your meals.
6. Salty Chips
Expecting mothers can crave salty potato chips, which can be a sign of low sodium in the body. Munching on spicy, crunchy, and salty chips provides a deep sense of satisfaction, which makes it difficult to stop eating them. Baked chips are a healthier option to oily, fried ones.
Many pregnant women crave red meat. It is a good source of iron but contains a certain amount of fats. It is healthier to replace red meat with lean meat.
Coffee can be very comforting to pregnant women. It kickstarts metabolism and decreases headaches. Consuming caffeine when pregnant is not a good idea as it can increase the risk of miscarriage and lead to birth defects.
It is not unlikely to see an expecting mother suck sour lemon without even cringing. Lemon can keep dizziness in check. You should dilute lemon juice with water before you drink it. The high citric acid content of lemon can lead to tooth erosion.
Gulping down soda is a great way to ease morning sickness. Carbonated drinks settle the stomach and get rid of uneasy feelings. Try and stick with non-caffeinated soda as caffeine is not good for your baby.
Food cravings can be difficult to ignore when you have a bun in the oven. You will crave weird combinations of foods such as pickles with ice cream or chips and chocolates. Such combinations are completely normal and acceptable as long as your baby does not get adversely affected by what you put in your mouth.