Cravings mean that the body is missing something. It’s normally caused by a lack of nutrients in the body, but it can also be for emotional reasons. The key to reducing sugar cravings is to focus on having a healthy diet by adding real, wholesome foods to it. The more we eat whole and fresh foods, the more we nourish our body, and the more the desire for sugary foods decreases.

It’s also important to be more connected with ourselves so we can see what we truly need instead of using food as a way to reduce stress and pain, or as a way to fill something that’s missing inside of us.

Here are 12 things you can do to reduce sugar cravings:

1. Eat foods that are high in the mineral magnesium.

These include dark leafy greens, raw cacao, nuts and seeds, brown rice, quinoa, and avocado. Sugar cravings may actually be a result of magnesium deficiency.

2. Eat foods high in the mineral chromium.

Chow down on broccoli, sweet potatoes, apples, whole grains, and pastured eggs. Chromium regulates blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and helps to reduce sugar cravings.

3. Eat foods high in zinc.

Zinc is abundant in whole grains, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, pastured eggs, and oysters. Zinc from animal sources is absorbed better because it does not contain phytates. Zinc is needed for insulin and glucose utilization, and a deficiency can lead to sugar cravings.

4. Spice up your meals with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom.

These spices will not only naturally sweeten your food, but will also help balance your blood sugar and reduce sugar cravings.

5. Eat a teaspoon of extra-virgin coconut oil three times a day.

This will help boost metabolism, nourish the brain, and reduce sugar cravings. Add coconut oil to your smoothies, soups, and stir-fries.

6. Consume fermented foods and beverages.

Start eating cultured vegetables and drinking coconut kefir. Sour food helps naturally reduce sugar cravings and, at the same time, provide probiotics, which support digestive health.

7. Make sure you consume healthy fats with your meals.

They provide satiety and they help to keep your blood sugar stable. Healthy fats include those found in avocados, nuts and seeds, coconut, extra-virgin olive oil, and the natural fats found in animal products such as wild salmon and pastured eggs.

8. Cut back on caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods.

Caffeine and alcohol dehydrate the body and can lead to mineral deficiencies. Processed foods have a tendency to be very high in sugar and salt, which both lead to sugar cravings. However, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s OK to have a cup of coffee or a glass of wine occasionally. It’s all about moderation.

9. Supplement with amino acid L-glutamine.

L-glutamine helps to reduce, and even eliminate, sugar cravings. It also helps to heal the digestive tract and supports the immune system. If you’re on medication, talk with your health care practitioner before supplementing.

10. Make sure you stay hydrated with fresh water and herbal teas.

Dehydration is linked to food cravings. You should be drinking about half your body weight in ounces of water daily. Add a slice of lemon to your water to improve the taste if needed.

11. Get adequate sleep and exercise regularly.

When tired, we have the tendency to eat sugary foods. Exercising regularly will help to boost energy levels and reduce stress.

12. Manage stress and emotions.

Do more of what nourishes your body, mind, and soul, and remember that stress is not created by exterior factors but by the way we perceive situations in life.

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