There’s no mistaking a food craving. Suddenly, out of nowhere, you want a slice of pizza (or three), an entire carton of ice cream, and maybe some nachos. The want—no, need—seems impossible to ignore.

What many of us don’t realize is that there’s more to our cravings than meets the eye. Yearning for a salty bag of potato chips? Might be dehydration. Got an overactive sweet tooth? Your PMS could be the perpetrator. Basically, food cravings are your body’s way of telling you there’s an imbalance happening underneath the surface.

So, what have you been craving lately? Learn how to interpret your urges with our easy guide to Body Mapping!

THE CRAVING: Salty snacks
THE CAUSE: Dehydration

From pretzels and tortilla chips to plain ol’ pizza, intense salt cravings may point to a hydration problem. Exercise, alcohol, and a diet high in salt, in particular, can all lead to dehydration. And when you’re dehydrated, you need more salt to retain and maintain the water in your body.

THE FIX: Make sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water every day—more when you’re working out. You may even opt for coconut water to boost your electrolytes instantly.

TRY: Hope in a Bottle 500mL (4), P70, Nyogi Pure Coconut Water (250ml), P26, Nyogi Pure Coconut Water (1L), P76

THE CRAVING: Sugary sweets
THE CAUSE: Emotional imbalance

You know how massive tubs of ice cream are usually associated with heartbreak? Well, same goes for all sweets! It’s common to crave for cakes, cookies, and other saccharine goodies when something is bothering you—be it stress, sadness, or even anger.

THE FIX: To combat the cravings, try a 15-minute walk. Soak up some Vitamin D and breathe in the fresh air while you’re at it! These can all help relieve mental—and emotional—stress.

THE CRAVING: Chocolate
THE CAUSE: Magnesium deficiency

Having an overactive sweet tooth may also be a result of a magnesium deficiency. This is especially common for women on their monthly cycle. During your time of the month, your body uses up more magnesium—which is why many of us experience PMS and chocolate cravings simultaneously.

THE FIX: Eat more nuts, seeds, fish, and leafy greens. This will ensure you don’t become magnesium deficient. That way, you can indulge in chocolate when it’s really worth it, rather than having to fight off the urge constantly.

TRY: Made by Maxi Almond Butters in **Plain Roasted, Extra Dark Cacao, and Cinnamon Vanilla, P45 each; The Green Tummy Flax Seeds, P350; The Green Tummy Chia Seeds, P370

THE CRAVING: Red meat
THE CAUSE: Iron deficiency

The urge to sink your teeth into a hunk of a meat usually means one thing: an iron deficiency. If you experience heavy flow during your monthly cycle, this can leave you short on the mineral. Also, if you don’t eat enough protein, this could indicate your body is lacking iron in general.

THE FIX: It’s simple: eat meat! Now, if you don’t consume animal products, you may replace meat with dark, leafy greens such as spinach or kale, or protein-rich foods like tofu, nuts, and seeds.

TRY: 7 Grains Company Yellow Soybean Protein Pasta, P125, 7 Grains Company Edamame Protein Pasta, P125, Take Root Peanut Butter Balls, P130, The Green Tummy I’m Nuts About You Set, P250, Manila Superfoods Raw Almonds (70g), P115

THE CRAVING: Cheese
THE CAUSE: Stress

There’s a reason why cheese tastes so good after a bad day. It practically oozes with L-tryptophan. This amino acid instantly elevates your body’s serotonin levels—the hormone that influences your happiness on most (if not all) days.

THE FIX: If you want to cut out cheese, try exercising or even stretching. Moving can help bring the good vibes just as well, or even better, than a wheel of gouda.

Bottom line: listen to your body. It may have something very important to say beyond “Feed me!”

To discover more about healthy living, visit our Wellness Tab.

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