What do you crave when anemic?

Answered by Douglas Hiatt

When anemic, it is common to experience cravings for certain foods or substances. These cravings can vary from person to person, but there are a few common cravings that many individuals with anemia may experience. It is important to note that these cravings do not necessarily indicate a specific nutrient deficiency, but rather they are more likely the body’s way of trying to obtain the nutrients it needs.

One common craving that people with anemia may have is a craving for ice. This condition, known as pagophagia, involves a strong desire to chew on ice cubes or crushed ice. It is often associated with iron deficiency, although the exact reason for this craving is still unclear. Some theories suggest that the coldness of the ice may help to soothe inflammation or pain in the mouth or throat, which can be a symptom of anemia. Others believe that chewing ice may provide a sensory stimulation that temporarily increases alertness or provides a distraction from other symptoms.

I personally experienced this craving for ice when I was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia. I found myself constantly reaching for ice cubes and chewing on them throughout the day. It became almost like a habit, and I couldn’t resist the urge to crunch on ice. It provided a temporary relief and seemed to satisfy a certain sensation that I couldn’t pinpoint.

Another common craving that may occur with anemia is a craving for non-food substances, a condition known as pica. This can include cravings for items such as dirt, clay, chalk, or even paper. While the exact cause of pica is not fully understood, it is often associated with nutrient deficiencies, including iron deficiency. The body may be trying to obtain minerals or nutrients that are lacking by seeking out these unusual substances. It is important to note that pica can be harmful if non-food items are ingested, so it is crucial to seek medical attention if you experience these cravings.

In addition to these specific cravings, individuals with anemia may also experience more general cravings for certain types of food. For example, many people with anemia may crave red meat, which is a good source of iron. This craving may be the body’s way of trying to increase iron levels. Similarly, cravings for foods high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, may also occur as vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron.

It is worth mentioning that not everyone with anemia will experience these cravings, and the cravings can vary greatly from person to person. Some individuals may not experience any cravings at all, while others may have cravings for foods that are not typically associated with anemia. Each person’s experience with anemia is unique, and it is important to listen to your body and consult with a healthcare professional if you have concerns about your nutrient levels or experience unusual cravings.

To summarize, cravings experienced when anemic can vary from person to person. Some common cravings include a desire to chew ice (pagophagia), a craving for non-food substances (pica), and cravings for specific types of food such as red meat or citrus fruits. These cravings may be the body’s way of trying to obtain the nutrients it needs, although the exact reasons for these cravings are still not fully understood. It is important to address any concerns or unusual cravings with a healthcare professional to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.