Salt Cravings: Why You Get Them & How to Satisfy Them Safely
Whether you eat a lot of salt on a daily basis or you watch your salt intake your body craves salt from time to time largely due to activity level and hot weather. When this happens, you might reach for potato chips or another salty junk food snack, cheese, fast food or countless other convenience foods. When this happens stop yourself from grabbing the closest junk food and balance your sodium levels naturally and safely.
Why You Crave Salt
Your body is low in minerals such as, but not limited to, calcium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, and zinc.
You’re dehydrated-salt keeps water in the body to hydrate the cells, when you’re dehydrated the salt holds onto water, hence fluid retention, and your body craves more salt because it needs to hold on to more water.
Under-active adrenal glands – low blood pressure is a symptom, doctor can test easily through saliva
Poorly functioning taste buds due to age and illness such as cancer (treatments) & bulimia
The Dangers of Too Much Salt
Makes arteries less flexible (stiff arteries) which doesn’t allow them to dilate to let blood flow through easily, causes kidney disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis through calcium loss, thickens the heart muscle that pumps blood making it work harder, and causes dehydration.
How much Salt is Enough and How to Replace It Safely
The amount of salt that is healthiest, given that you’re not on a salt restricted diet, is 2300 mg. per day according to the FDA and if you’re over 51 just 1500 mg. per day. In today’s food society an average of 80% of sodium comes from prepared foods including snacks, sweets, and frozen or canned convenience foods. If you eat out a lot you can be sure you’re getting a whole day’s worth of salt in one meal based on restaurant meals sodium levels averaging 1300-3000 mg. and higher per dish! Read labels and details on menus when available.
Whole foods offer natural sodium as well as minerals so by eating them regularly and when you’re craving salt you can safely balance your sodium levels and hydration. Eat foods such as broccoli, spinach, kale and other green vegetables, potatoes, bananas, citrus and other fruit, cheese, eggs, fish, lean meat, beans (if using canned always rinse well to remove excess sodium), raw nuts and seeds. Whole foods have sodium naturally and eating them regularly is the best way to keep your sodium levels balanced as well as drinking plenty of water every day.
There is so much focus on fat and calorie intake everywhere you look and less of a focus on sodium intake. Take charge of your health and control your salt intake before it takes control of you.