I’ve recently had a big craving for garlic.
I’ve been following a Jain vegetarian diet recently that excludes any and all root veggies, like potatoes, onions, and you guessed it, garlic.
I called my dietician to ask what’s up with my garlic craving because it was honestly getting really bad, and I didn’t know why this craving hit me all of a sudden. Boy, did I learn a lot over that Zoom call.
Why Do People Crave Garlic?
People can crave garlic for a variety of reasons. The first reason is that the more you eat garlic, the more likely you are to crave it. Secondly, you could be craving garlic because your body needs certain vitamins and nutrients that garlic contains. These could be vitamins B6 and C, zinc, selenium, iron, manganese, or calcium. Thirdly, if you have changed your diet and no longer eat foods that contain a liberal amount of garlic, you could be craving garlic because your body and taste buds are used to it. Fourthly, garlic cravings are also related to what you see as a comfort food and then crave when you are feeling blue or stressed. And lastly, if you are pregnant, you could be craving garlic.
The Science Behind Food Cravings
While some people believe that a food craving is “all in your head,” there are physiological and psychological reasons for craving certain types of food.
In short, here are the reasons you may be craving a certain type of food, such as garlic:
- If you are sad, anxious, or stressed, cortisol increases, and you may be craving sweet foods.
- When you are tired, your body may be craving energy-giving foods so you can feel better and get through the day.
- If your blood sugar is low, you’ll be craving food with a high sugar content as this gives your body energy and fast too.
- When hormones are out of balance, such as when women have their period or are pregnant, they may have cravings.
- You may have a craving for something when you are, in fact, dehydrated.
- If your nutrients aren’t well-balanced, you could be craving food that will help give your body the nutrients it needs to perform certain functions.
Other factors, like your body mass index, the type of food you regularly eat, and genetics can also predispose you to certain food cravings.
So Why Crave Garlic?
There are various reasons your body could be craving garlic:
Reason 1: Frequently Eating Garlic
A study published in Obesity found the more you eat a certain type of food, the more likely you are to crave it. So, if you often eat garlic (or every day – I’m not judging!), the more likely it is that you’ll crave it.
For example, if you are traveling and the cuisine in your destination country doesn’t use garlic, then chances are you’ll crave garlic, especially if you are used to eating it frequently at home.
Reason 2: Needing Certain Nutrients
Garlic is rich in vitamins and nutrients like vitamin B6 and C, calcium, iron, manganese, selenium, and zinc.
Here’s the vitamin and nutrient content of garlic:
- Three garlic cloves contain 2.8 mg of vitamin C. Your body needs this vitamin to help fight free radicals, build collagen, and support the functioning of your immune system.
- Your body will receive 1.235 mg of vitamin B6 in 100 g of garlic, which is 87% more than most other foods. In fact, eating this amount of garlic per day ensures you get 95% of the vitamin B6 your body needs to prevent and treat anemia, promote brain health, reduce depression, and boost your immune system.
- Three cloves of garlic contain 16.3 mg of calcium, which is critical for building strong bones and teeth. Calcium also contributes to the proper functioning of your nerves, muscles, and other body systems.
- In a three-clove serving of garlic, your body will absorb 0.2 mg of iron, which helps with the transportation of oxygen throughout your body. Iron also helps your body produce the energy it needs to function.
- One clove of garlic contains 0.15 mg of manganese, which helps your blood to clot and your body to form connective tissue. This nutrient also helps your body to metabolize cholesterol, glucose, carbs, and amino acids.
- One garlic clove contains 0.4 mg of selenium, which is an antioxidant. This nutrient also helps protect your body against developing heart disease, and it improves your hair and nail growth and condition.
- One cup or 136 g (which is 45 cloves), has 1.58 mg of zinc, which accounts for 14% of the daily value of a 2,000-calorie diet. Zinc helps reduce inflammation, speeds up wound healing, and supports your immune system.
So if your body is low on these vitamins or nutrients, you could be craving garlic.
Reason 3: Dieting
If you are on a low-calorie diet, chances are you aren’t actually craving garlic. Instead, you could be craving yummy garlic butter bread, a margarita pizza with extra garlic, or a pasta bowl and garlic sauce.
If you’ve been dieting and cutting calories and carbs, then there’s a high chance your body is craving the kinds of foods you are depriving yourself of.
Reason 4: Feeling Upset, Depressed, or Stressed
If you aren’t feeling well psychologically or emotionally, you could be craving comfort food. And if your choice of comfort food comes with heaps of yummy garlic, then you may think you are craving garlic, when in fact, it is comfort food and the garlic that goes with it.
Craving garlic or garlic-y comfort foods when you are sad or stressed is an attempt to self-medicate to help yourself feel better about whatever is upsetting you.
Reason 5: Pregnancy
Pregnant women sometimes have lots of cravings and weird ones too. Luckily, craving garlic while pregnant isn’t exactly as weird as pickles and ice cream.
If you are pregnant and craving garlic, know that you’ll reap all the benefits garlic has to offer. It strengthens your immune system, helps keep your emotions in check, and it is high in antioxidants.
Moreover, as an antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal, eating garlic helps keep the fluid in your womb bacteria-free.
Frequently Asked Questions About Why People Crave Garlic
What health benefits does garlic have?
Garlic has many health benefits. Some health benefits you can gain from eating garlic is that it lowers blood pressure, quells inflammation, lowers cholesterol, supports immunity, and decreases blood clotting. Garlic also contains many antioxidants that boost your health.
Is it okay to eat garlic every day?
Garlic is healthy, so in moderation, you can eat it every day. Eat 1-2 raw garlic cloves every day to boost your immunity, support heart health, lower blood sugar levels, and improve your memory. Of course, you can also cook, sauté, bake, or roast garlic.
The Last Craving
So craving garlic can mean a few different things.
You could be experiencing a nutrient imbalance; however, in most cases, you’ll need to eat quite a lot of garlic to satisfy your body’s nutrient deficiency needs. But garlic can help!
Other reasons for craving garlic include that you eat it a lot, see it as comfort food, have been dieting and depriving yourself of garlic-rich foods, or are pregnant.