A craving for food can be a maddening experience -- it overwhelms your thoughts until you satisfy the desire. Wanting orange juice may mean something more specific than just an option to satisfy your thirst and ward off dehydration. It may indicate hormonal changes, deficiencies in your nutritional intake or a need for energy.
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If you have seen orange juice -- perhaps an advertisement on television or in a magazine, or you have just been to the grocery store -- you may begin to crave it. A study published in the May 2010 issue the journal "Current Directions in Psychological Science" indicates that test participants who saw a food were more apt to want to eat it. The researchers, who were from Flinders University in Australia, note that mental imagery of foods uses up brain power, making it difficult to perform cognitive tasks.
Food cravings may be the result of hormonal changes, most notably the ones that occur during pregnancy. Three-quarters of pregnant women experience food cravings and these cravings are often strongest during the first trimester, reports the "What to Expect" website. The good news is that if you are craving orange juice during pregnancy, there is not reason to abstain -- the juice is full of vitamin C and other nutrients you and your growing fetus require for a healthy pregnancy. Just sip in moderation and opt for no-added sugar juice.
Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
Naturopathic medicine practitioners sometimes believe your craving for orange juice has something to do with vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Wanting to eat an acid fruit such as oranges or drinking orange juice may indicate a lack of magnesium in your body. If you are craving sweets in the form of orange juice, it may be carbon your body is asking for. No scientific evidence supports the idea that your body craves foods when you're lacking vitamins or minerals though.
A low energy level can put a damper on your day and planned activities. You may crave orange juice because you know it will give you a quick burst of energy. Having a lack of energy may be related to low blood sugar and the need for macronutrients that convert to fuel in your body, such as fat, carbohydrates and protein. One cup of orange juice contains 0.5 gram of fat, about 25 grams of carbohydrates and nearly 2 grams of protein.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- ScienceDaily: The Psychology of Food Cravings
- What To Expect: Food Cravings During Pregnancy
- Naturopathy Works: Food Cravings
- McKinley Health Center: Macronutrients: The Importance of Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat
- MedlinePlus: B Vitamins
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Iron
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Orange Juice, Raw
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Orange Juice, Raw