In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), each of the 5 organ meridians correspond to the 5 flavors of food. An imbalance in the system will cause a person to either crave a certain flavor or have a strong aversion to that flavor. Meeting this craving (or not avoiding the aversion) is about balance — satisfying the need without over-over-indulging. There’s also the option that your craving means nothing but it’s still a good idea to always pay attention to your body’s signals.
Crave extra salt on meals, chips, cheese
Related emotion: fear surfaces or is confronted, salt cravings help pad the body with more water
Instead of consuming overly salty foods, nourish the kidneys with the natural sodium found in celery, seaweed, bone broth, seafood, or beans
Western take: this could be a sign of chronic stress, adrenal fatigue or certain medications.
Other beneficial foods: black beans, walnuts, blackberries, blueberries
Crave sour candy, citrus, sourdough bread, vinegar or fermented foods (kombucha, pickles), olive oil, olives
Related emotions: frustration, anger or stress —> the LV Qi is constrained and not able to freely flow due to anger or stress and we crave sour foods to help disperse the stagnant energy
Drink warm water with ACV, lemon juice and honey in the morning, snack on green apples, eat cruciferous vegetables
Avoid alcohol, fatty/greasy foods
Craves coffee, chocolate, caffeine
Chocolate is a comfort food for many (hi Mom)
Related emotions: lack of joy, mental restlessness
We are craving stimulation and bitter foods to wake up the nerves of being frazzled or fatigued
Consume red foods - beets, cherries, strawberries, red cabbage, red grapes, red beans, tomatoes or watermelon
Western take: make sure you are eating high quality chocolate (70% cocoa or higher) and getting enough magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens, nuts and seeds
Craves sugar and sweets, grains, dairy, candy, ice cream
Related emotions: worry and not feeling nurtured or grounded
Nourish the spleen by consuming root vegetables (to help ground the person), cinnamon, ginger, beans, brown rice, oats, fruit
Western take: make sure your blood sugar is not fluctuating too much. If you are feeling fatigued or foggy, your body may be craving sugar as a way to quickly increase blood sugar
Craves spicy food or hot sauce, wasabi, jalapeño or mints/gum
Related emotions: sorrow, grief that has been suppressed
Release emotions, consume onions, ginger, garlic (not too much as they are hot foods), almonds, pears, sesame seeds
Cravings can often tell us a story of our needs whether it is our overall body, our nutrition or even just our emotional needs. The next time you go to grab a pickle (am I the only one pregnant?), think about other ways you can also nourish your body, mind and soul.