On most kitchen tables or countertops in America sits salt and pepper shakers or containers. Whole books have been written about sodium consumption and human health but little attention has been given to black pepper. Here Kimberly Holland, HealthLine.com, reflects on craving salt, medically reviewed by Natalie Butler, RD, LD:
“Salt is a highly addictive taste. Our brains and bodies are designed to enjoy salt because it’s necessary to survival. Over the course of human history, finding salt was difficult, so craving salt was a survival mechanism.
Today, however, the average American eats too much salt. The American Heart Association recommends that adults consume between 1,500 and 2,400 milligrams (mg) of salt per day. That’s no more than one teaspoon of salt per day. Most people take in close to 3,400 mg each day, however.
Craving salt may be a symptom of a health condition and not just a yearning for a mid-afternoon snack. Read on to learn what craving salt may mean for your body and what you can do to eat less of it.
Salt gets a bad rap in the nutrition world. Too much salt can be unhealthy — even deadly — but too little salt can be dangerous also. Salt is necessary for many bodily functions, including controlling muscles and maintaining fluid balance.
You may crave salt as a symptom of a medical condition that requires treatment. That’s why you should never ignore a sudden craving. Below are some conditions that may cause you to crave salt.
Your body needs to maintain a certain level of fluids to function properly. If those levels fall below what’s healthy, you may start craving salt. This is your body’s way of encouraging you to drink or eat more.
Other signs of dehydration in addition to craving salt include:
- cold, clammy skin
- feeling very thirsty
- decreased urine production
- mood changes and irritability
- rapid heart rate
- muscle spasms or cramping
The fluids in your body carry vital minerals. These minerals help your body function properly. Sodium, found in common table salt, is one such mineral. If these minerals, also called electrolytes, aren’t balanced, you could show symptoms, including:
- nausea or vomiting
- fatigue or loss of energy
- irritability and mood changes
Your adrenal glands are responsible for producing hormones that are vital to your survival. Addison’s disease is a rare disease that can decrease the amount of hormones produced by your adrenal glands. People with this disease experience salt cravings, in addition to other symptoms:
- severe fatigue or lack of energy
- pale, clammy skin
- low blood pressure
- loss of appetite
- unexplained weight loss
- long-term or persistent diarrhea
- dark patches of skin, especially on the face
- mouth sores on the inside of the cheeks
The adrenal glands are responsible for releasing cortisol. This hormone helps regulate blood pressure and your body’s response to stress. Research suggests that people with higher levels of sodium release lower levels of cortisol during stressful periods. Craving salt could be one way your body is trying to deal with unusual stress.
People with Bartter syndrome cannot reabsorb sodium. Any sodium they eat is lost through urine. That means they’re chronically low on sodium. This group of kidney disorders is present at birth, so symptoms appear early.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/craving-salt
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