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Craving salt? Your body is trying to tell you something

Haylie Pomroy is a celebrity nutritionist and the author of the Instant #1 NY Times Bestseller, The Fast Metabolism Diet and The Fast Metabolism Diet Cookbook.

Photo credit: Alen-D/iStock/360/Getty Images

Do you reach for the pretzels late in the afternoon? Or do you long to nibble on potato chips in front of the TV?

Food cravings, like a desire for a little something salty, are one way our bodies communicate with us. Salt cravings can be a clue that your body isn't getting what it needs.

Our bodies actually need salt: The right type and amount stabilizes our electrolytes, lowers stress and improves brain function.

Here's what a salt craving can tell you about your health:

1. You're dehydrated

Aim to drink about half of your body weight, in ounces, of spring water each day. For a 140-pound person, that’s 70 ounces. If you tend to crave salt in the afternoon, try drinking more water in the mornings. Why spring water? It has the best electrolyte value because it comes straight from an aquifer; that means it retains beneficial minerals. Electrolytes are important because they help regulate how and where fluids are stored and distributed through your body.

2. You're fatigued or stressed out

The right amount of salt helps soothe the adrenal glands and lowers the stress hormone cortisol. And when your stress levels are under control, your metabolism hums along more smoothly. Your body is more likely to burn fat as fuel rather than store it on your hips.

Settling salt cravings

Before you make a beeline for the nearest bag of chips, ask yourself if you've been drinking enough water. Try upping your intake to meet your ounces-per-day goal.

Consider adding a bit more salt to your diet. Celtic salt and Himalayan salt have the best electrolyte value among the various types (you can find them in health-food stores and online). If you can't find those, go for sea salt. Sprinkle a bit of salt on apple or melon slices, or even just place a pinch on your tongue.

Still have the munchies? Try whipping up a batch of satisfying kale chips. Or try pickles; they're salty and crunchy, but not high in fat or sugar.

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