Salt Cravings: What Your Body Is Trying To Tell You

salt, cravings, body

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Written by: Brandi Monasco

Salt Cravings: What Your Body Is Trying To Tell You

You crave chips and salty fries. You can’t eat just one. No, you devour the entire bag. You crave salt constantly and you feel as though you cannot get enough.

It’s a perfectly normal thing to have cravings, especially when it comes to salt, fats and sweets. Cravings are just your body’s way of telling you that you are missing some sort of essential nutrient or mineral and your body wants it NOW.

As with all things, salt is good in moderation, but what about when those cravings are too much? What does it mean and what do you do when you are constantly craving salt?

According to the American Heart Association, you should limit your salt intake to no more than 1,500 milligrams per day and that is for most adults. Just one teaspoon of salt equals about 2,300 milligrams of sodium and that is WAY too much! However, the average American actually eats more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day.

Salt is essential to our bodies. Eating an adequate amount of salt helps your body to function properly. It helps to regulate your blood pressure and the flow of your blood. It also helps to transmit “messages” between your nerves and muscle fibers.

When you crave salt, there are usually a few reasons why you are having this craving, one being a mineral deficiency. Your body is telling you that there is an imbalance with the minerals in your body. Your body might actually be telling you that you need more calcium, iron, or even potassium.

To remedy this issue, try to boost up your mineral intake with a good quality multivitamin and eat more vegetables that are mineral-dense.

Dehydration is another reason why you could be craving salty foods. When you sweat excessively, have diarrhea, vomit, or even have insufficient fluid intake, your body becomes dehydrated and therefore, your salt cravings start. This is your body’s way of telling you that you are losing too much sodium by the fluids that are leaving your body.

The best way to fix this is to make sure that you are always hydrated with the proper amounts of water, at least 8 glasses a day or half your bodyweight in ounces.

However, as with everything in life, too much of a good thing is a BAD thing. If you consume too much salt, you could see some pretty drastic effects on your health.

When you eat too much salt, your body retains water. Having excessive salt in your diet means that your kidneys can start keeping more water in them and you can end up with edema, which is swelling in your face, ankles, legs, arms and feet. If you continue to eat high amounts of salt, over time it can take a serious toll on your health and it can eventually lead to hypertension and high blood pressure, which can cause a stroke or a heart attack. Too much salt can also lead to autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus and allergies.

If you feel that you are consuming too much salt, here are a few suggestions to help you cut down on the sodium:

  • Don’t restrict your salt intake. Rather, salt your food to taste, but don’t go overboard.
  • Pay attention to how you feel after eating foods that contain sodium. If you start to see or feel swelling, or just not feel right, your body may be trying to tell you that whatever it was that you ate contained too much sodium.
  • Pay attention to your body when you exercise. Exercise can leave you dehydrated. If you sweat, make sure that you rehydrate yourself with electrolytes that contain potassium.

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Brandi Monasco

Brandi Monasco

Health Advocate at Gettin' Healthy
Brandi Monasco is a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media manager from Texas. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts and has recently found a new love for health and nutrition.
Brandi Monasco
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