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iVillage.com: Beat Your Worst Food Cravings

If You Crave: Things You’re Embarrassed to Mention

The Likely Culprit: A Major Mineral Shortfall
At some point in their lives, at least 8 percent of women will crave things that aren’t classed as food, such as paint chips, coffee grounds, drywall, paper, toothpaste or cigarette ashes, according to research at Howard University Hospital in Washington, DC. “Pica is often triggered by a massive shortfall of minerals, including zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium and chromium,” says Ellen W. Cutler, D.C., author of "MicroMiracles." “It’s your body’s desperate attempt to find something -- anything -- that will restore your mineral balance.”

Rx: Start by going to your doctor and fessing up. Most people hide this type of craving, yet getting a proper diagnosis is the key to a speedy recovery. The good news: Finding out which minerals you’re deficient in -- and taking prescription-strength doses until your shortfalls are corrected --can erase this embarrassing problem in as little as three months, says Cutler.

(Credit: WIN-Initiative/Getty Images)
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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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