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8 Surprising Reasons You Crave Salt

  • Americans should consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day in order to maintain a healthy diet, or 1,500 mg in order to maintain a more ideal diet. The mineral is important for our overall health because it helps to regulate blood pressure, prevents muscle cramps, maintains the nervous system, and is involved in the body's metabolism.

    We need at least 500 mg per day to keep these basic functions running smoothly. Low sodium levels in the blood can cause a rare sodium deficiency known as hyponatremia. Nausea, vomiting, cramps, headaches, confusion, and irritability are all symptoms of low sodium levels.

    However, most Americans far exceed that recommendation, consuming closer to 3,400 mg of sodium per day. Adding table salt to food may even reduce your life expectancy. Excess salt raises the risk of heart disease, can impair memory and cognition, and can cause bone calcium loss. Furthermore, too much sodium can cause water retention, blood vessel hardening, and bone strength issues.

    There's nothing wrong with occasionally reaching for pretzels or potato chips during a movie night or ordering French fries as a side dish at dinner. After all, the key to a healthy diet is balance. However, if you find yourself constantly craving salty foods and unable to reduce your sodium intake, you may be suffering from something more serious. This is why you crave salt.

    1. You follow a restrictive diet 

    If you're on a low-carb diet that's really low-carb, you might be avoiding too much sodium. Avoiding foods with hidden sodium, such as bread and sandwiches, or switching to a new diet that does, such as keto, may increase your salt cravings.

    2. You have a chronic stress 

    Stress can have an effect on the hormones your body produces, causing an increase in sodium cravings. The adrenal glands produce cortisol, the stress hormone responsible for the "fight or flight" response. Chronic stress, on the other hand, has been linked to an increase in cortisol production, which has been linked to food cravings.

    3. You have Addison’s disease 

    Addison's disease, which is uncommon, can impair normal hormone production, leading to salt cravings. Addison's disease is a condition in which the production of certain hormones is disrupted, causing sodium levels to drop and causing cravings, fatigue, cramps, and dizziness.

    People with Addison's disease, also known as adrenal insufficiency, do not produce enough cortisol and other hormones that adrenal glands normally produce. Sodium levels are most likely out of balance, leading to an increase in salt cravings.

    4. You have Barter syndrome 

    When the kidneys are affected by Barter Syndrome, it makes it difficult for them to reabsorb sodium, which can interfere with electrolyte balance and cause you to crave more salt. Your kidneys are in charge of maintaining proper fluid levels, particularly sodium and potassium.

    5. You don’t get enough sleep 

    Lack of sleep, like stress, can affect hormone levels, making cravings more likely. Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night.

    6. You’re on your period 

    If you suddenly crave salty foods around the time of your menstrual cycle, it could be due to PMS symptoms, as hormone fluctuations can cause you to crave salty or sweet foods. Furthermore, if your menstrual cycle is accompanied by vomiting or diarrhea, this can dehydrate you and cause electrolyte imbalances.

    7. You’re pregnant 

    If your sodium cravings appear unexpectedly and you haven't had your last period, hormonal changes caused by pregnancy can also cause specific salty or sweet cravings. Morning sickness can sometimes result in vomiting, which depletes your body of the necessary fluids, leading to additional sodium cravings and dehydration. Even if this isn't the case, some pregnant women have a higher demand for fluid, which may contribute to sodium cravings.

    8. Your body is dehydrated 

    Hydration and electrolyte intake are critical for bodily functions. If you sweat a lot due to heat or exercise, or if you don't drink enough water throughout the day, you may begin to crave sodium. Because our bodies crave balance, when your sodium level drops, your body will send you a message to let you know that you need sodium to rebalance.

    This can result in dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance, resulting in chronic headaches, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, excessive thirst, and mood changes, in addition to sodium cravings.

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