August 23, 2017

Why Do I Crave Salt?

Chips with greensAndrea Answers: Why Do I Crave Salty Foods?

The simple reason is that sodium is an essential mineral in the human diet.  Without it, our blood pressure would drop, and our hearts would cease to beat.

 

The more complex and more interesting reason for salt cravings is STRESS.

Salt cravings are common in individuals who ‘burn the candle at both ends’. While these folks are overworked or overstimulated by their daily activities, their adrenal glands are also working overtime to produce the hormones that help them deal with stress.   You may recognize the signs of adrenal fatigue when no amount of sleep seems to rejuvenate your energy levels.  Tired adrenal glands cannot secrete cortisol and adrenaline, nor can they maintain aldosterone.

What is Aldosterone?

Aldosterone is a hormone produced by the male AND female adrenal glands.  It is not a sex hormone; rather, it regulates blood volume by a device reading blood pressurecontrolling how much fluid the blood cells are carried along in.  Adequate aldosterone production maintains a healthy blood pressure, whereas inadequate production causes blood pressure to drop. When the latter occurs, the body attempts to find another way to increase blood volume to ensure nutrients and oxygen get transported to the tissues.

So what does it do in the absence of adequate aldosterone to make this happen?  It asks for salt. Sodium!  While sodium won’t do anything to increase production of aldosterone, it will bring blood pressure quickly back to normal.

Think about the salty foods you crave. Are they salty and crunchy, like potato chips? Or are they salty, fatty and gooey, like melted cheese?meat pizza  According to Doreen Virtue, author of Constant Craving, the above differences may be explained by what emotions lead up to the craving. It’s something to think about. (Watch for my review of Doreen’s book, coming soon.)

If you suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure) and you regularly crave salt, you probably shouldn’t increase your salt intake. Instead, ask yourself if you’re getting enough fluid.  The body is always seeking balance, and dehydration will only aggravate hypertension in an individual who already eats a lot of processed (salty) foods.

Whether your blood pressure is too low or too high, it’s a good idea to check your blood pressure regularly and consistently to monitor how your sodium intake affects it.

What salty foods do you crave?

 

 

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