What It Really Means When You Crave Meat

Do you have beef on the brain? Don't be alarmed. Cravings are natural and more meaningful than you think. They can tell us what our body needs and other times, they may remind us of our favorite meals. Nonetheless, it's important to lean into your body's cues. If you want a warm and juicy burger once in a while, what's stopping you?

Everyone is prone to crave certain foods on occasion. In some cases, desires for various foods give insight into what's missing in our diet. According to Women's Health, chocolate cravings signal a possible magnesium deficit, a want for cheese is a quest for more calcium, and meat cravings mean that you may be low in iron or B12. Not so random after all, right? A sudden urge to eat may equally relate to emotional triggers. For example, having dinner with loved ones creates memory markers. From then on, steaks and potato salad may cue memories of the family barbecues. Times of hunger can also reflect our eating habits. Michael Roizen, M.D., chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic told Health, "A craving is essentially just a habit you've ensconced in the brain pathway." Hence, not all cravings are good suggestions for your next meal, but you should still listen and asses what they may mean.

So what's up with meat cravings?

So when it comes to meat cravings, how do you know when your body is indicating deficit vs. desire? According to Mashed, longing for red meat is common among women who are menstruating, people who've lost large amounts of blood, or those with an unknown iron deficiency. In addition to your meat cravings, if you notice paleness, chills, fatigue, hair loss, or brittle nails, talk with your doctor immediately (via Healthline). 

So what can you do about those overwhelming cravings? Unbound Wellness recommends alternating foods every four days to nourish your body with variety. According to Unilab, multivitamins or supplements help to fill in nutrition gaps, offering nutrients absent from a regular diet, but always talk to your doctor about your supplement routine. But if you're craving meat, there's no reason you can't make yourself a nice burger and savor it. Vegetarians and vegans can enjoy a delicious bean burger or meat substitute. 

Bottom line? If you're craving meat, chances are your body may require an added dose of iron. You can try a rotation diet, start a supplement, have a black bean burger or throw a steak on the grill. As for those with constant cravings or those who have questions about iron deficiency, consult a medical professional to learn more about the best way to balance your diet.