Some people really love chewing ice, it’s true. But if you find yourself craving the cold stuff it might be a sign of anaemia. A 2016 study in the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners concluded that doctors should ask patients if they crave ice as it’s a sign of iron deficiency. Ice cravings are a form of pica – a desire to eat non-food items like dirt and laundry soap – and are linked to low iron levels. The researchers hypothesised it might be because chewing the ice might temporarily increase blood flow to the brain, counteracting the slowdown caused by iron deficiency.
If you find yourself constantly reaching for chocolate – one of the most popular food cravings – you may be depressed and trying to self-medicate with the sweet stuff. A survey of more than 13,000 people found that those who ate dark chocolate during a 24-hour period were 57 per cent less likely to report symptoms of depression. In addition, chocolate contains magnesium and theobromine, two compounds shown to reduce levels of stress hormones and promote muscle relaxation.
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Are your dreams, both day and night, filled with visions of sugar plums (and more modern sweets)? If so, you might need to spend more time in dreamland. A 2018 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when people increased the number of hours they slept, they significantly decreased their intake of sugar. So skip the sweets and opt for some zzz’s instead.