It is a common refrain now that excess salt or salt as such is bad for health. Salt or sodium has been held responsible for conditions such as hypertension and patients who experience many conditions are advised to reduce their intake of salt. However, there are certain sections of people who crave salt or salty foods. Anything in excess harms our health and the underlying health conditions for these cravings needs to be found and corrected.
Conditions Which Cause Salt Cravings:
Sweating and Low Levels of Sodium in the Body: Some people sweat excessively and lose sodium along with it. When excess of sodium is lost through the sweat the body is deprived of sodium and starts craving for sodium rich foods or salty foods. Ingesting sports drinks which replaces the sodium content of your body along with the fluids will help in this condition.
Menstrual Cycle and Salt: Cravings for salty foods can occur in women during their menstrual bleeding or during the time of ovulation due to the hormonal changes that occur during that period.
Addison’s Disease: Addison’s disease is a condition in which the adrenal glands produce reduced quantities of cortisol and aldosterone. These hormones play a role in regulating fluid balance in our body and the amount of sodium that would be retained by the kidneys. When there is a deficiency of hormone more sodium is excreted in urine thus initiating a craving for foods with sodium. Addison’s disease is a life threatening one and the hormones which are deficient needs to be balanced or replaced to relieve the patients from symptoms and salt cravings.
Gitelman Syndrome: Gitelman Syndrome is a genetic disorder which causes salt cravings as the ability of the kidneys to regulate the amount of salt that is to be excreted in the urine is impaired. Excess excretion of sodium would trigger salt cravings in a person.
Drug Addiction and Salt Cravings: Researches have found the relation between the salt carvings and opiate addiction. Patients who were experiencing withdrawal from opiate addiction showed cravings for salty foods as these mimic the sensations associated with opiates and satisfies the pleasure and reward center of the brain.
Adrenal Fatigue: Adrenal fatigue is a condition characterized by a sluggishly functioning adrenal gland when a person is under a stress situation, smoking, drugs or due to infections. Salt craving is a symptom of this condition in addition to many other symptoms. Lifestyle modifications would give a relief from this condition and subsequently from the salt craving.
Habitual Cravings: Sometimes consuming foods rich in salt becomes a habit which needs to be consciously avoided and the craving can be alternated with healthier flavoring options such as herbs.
Mineral Deficiency: The salt cravings might be due to deficiencies of trace minerals that the body requires. Since the minerals also taste salty the deficiency is often mistaken for as a salt craving and salt is consumed instead of replenishing the minerals. The minerals which might be deficient in the body need to be balanced with supplements.
The recommended amount of salt everyday is around 2300mg or less. However, most of us consume more than double the amount of the recommended intake without our knowledge as salt is a part of every processed and packaged food. In this situation it is highly advisable that we do not give into cravings for salt and place ourselves at risk for numerous serious conditions and ailments. The underlying cause of a salt craving needs to be identified and rectified to pave way for a healthy life. Opting for celery juice to satisfy such cravings is a healthier option.