Why You're Craving Shellfish

Our bodies are always communicating with us — we just have to learn to listen. Intuitive eating, described by Healthline as a philosophy of eating centered around listening to what your body wants to eat without judgment, is all about honing that skill.

Food cravings, defined as an intense desire for a specific food, affect nearly 90% of the population, says Medical News Today. And while often-times cravings are more pathological in nature or show up in response to hormonal changes, there are instances in which cravings could be your body's way of alerting you to a nutrient deficiency within your body (per Harvard T.H. Chan).

Shellfish are aquatic invertebrates that can belong to one of two camps: Crustaceans, like shrimp, prawns, crabs and lobsters, or mollusks, which include scallops, clams, oysters, muscles, snails, octopus, and squid (per Food Allergy Research & Education). If you suddenly find yourself with an indisputable hankering for some char-grilled shrimp or boiled lobster, there may be a few things your body is trying to tell you. Let's take a closer look.

What shellfish cravings might be telling you

Aside from being generally delicious and a nice break from the monotony of chicken and beef, shellfish provide an excellent source of lean protein, healthy fats, and essential minerals, making them nutritional powerhouses that can aid in weight loss, enhance the immune system, and give your brain and heart a healthy boost (per Healthline).

While Simply Called Food notes that craving shellfish because you love the sweet taste and succulent texture is perfectly valid, it could also point to certain nutritional deficiencies. Oftentimes when we crave shellfish, that's the body's way of saying we need something shellfish provides a lot of, like protein, iodine, or omega-3 fatty acids. When we're sick or suffering from bad period symptoms, for example, our bodies might ask for the omega-3s or iron in shellfish to reduce inflammation and restore energy. Stylecaster adds that craving shellfish, eggs, or meat could also be an indication that you're in need of B12 — a vitamin that these foods are chock full of.