Craving salt happens to us all. Why? Well, it's a highly addictive taste and our brains are designed to want it as it's an essential part of our diet and our bodies need it.
In medieval times, salt was hard to come by and we are not quite evolved enough yet to realise that it is very easy to obtain now, and so we no longer need this survival mechanism.
Why Do I Crave Salt?
If the phrase 'why am I craving salt' has coursed around your brain at some point, you will probably be on the lookout for answers — luckily, we are going to provide you with some.
One of the reasons, possibly the main one, that you are craving salt could be because you haven't been getting enough sleep.
A lack of sleep means an increased level of cortisol (the stress hormone) is in your system and leads you to make low-quality food choices and brings about the urge to grab a salty snack.
Moreover, fatigue increases the hormone called ghrelin which is commonly referred to as the 'hunger hormone' — we're sure you don't need to be told how this is negatively affecting your salt cravings.
Like tiredness, stress heightens your cortisol levels and makes it impossible to ignore the craving for something salty, satisfying and comforting.
It's probably best to leave the grocery shopping for later if you're feeling stressed, it will decrease the risk of you piling up your cart with foods containing a high salt content.
3. Excessive Sweating
When we sweat, our bodies lose both water and sodium. Sodium is, of course, the main component of salt so, in this case, you do need to listen to your body as it means you need to up your sodium level.
Similar to comfort eating, you will crave salty foods for enjoyment and, quite simply, something to do.
Attempt to distract yourself by going for a walk or stroking your cat; if you're still hungry, you are probably experiencing physical hunger which means you need to fuel up!
5. Premenstrual Syndrome
Up to a week before your period starts, you may discover that, among other symptoms, you will be riddled with intense cravings of salty foods. These are extremely hard to ignore but they usually disappear after the week has ended.
On the other hand, you could be wondering...
Why Do I Crave Sugar?
Sugar cravings are very common and are most likely the result of bad habits built up over time.
However, sometimes they are brought on by certain foods that you have consumed.
How to Reduce Salt Cravings
The best way to reduce salt cravings is by lowering your overall sodium intake. By doing this, you'll be retraining your taste buds and also allowing your body to function optimally.
There are various methods you can use to decrease the sodium you digest.
The foods you buy contain a certain amount of salt but, you need to read more than the list of ingredients. Most items contain other sodium sources that aren't glaringly obvious — these are the ones you need to look out for.
Instead of seasoning your cooking with salt, try adding herbs and spices.
Leave Condiments Alone
Ketchup, bbq sauce and the like are filled with varying degrees of sodium. Using fresh tomatoes for adding flavour means you can cut out the unnecessary salt intake.
However, if you're a member of the 'sugar cravings crew' then you'll be more likely to need to know...
How to Reduce Sugar Cravings
It has been proven that dehydration can cause cravings so before you reach for the chocolate bar, try drinking a glass of water and assess the situation.
Increasing your protein intake will keep you feeling full for longer, thus reducing the risk of being urged to have a sugary snack.
Nutrient deficiencies will cause your brain to send out the 'I need to eat this biscuit' signal, depending on the specific vitamin you require.
Thankfully, taking a multivitamin every day can supplement your diet nicely and ensure you can kick the cravings.
Foods That Curb Cravings
Luckily, there are some foods and flavour combinations you can try to satisfy your salt craving.
An essential flavour in many recipes, garlic is better to use for seasoning than salt — and the gorgeous aroma of this ingredient will curb your urge to ingest a lot of sodium.
The tangy aspect of citrus fruits will overwhelm your taste buds and deliver a zingy sweetness which allows your brain to forget it ever wanted salt!
Perfect for grating over many dishes, ginger will give you the kick you need to stop the urges.
Foods that curb sugar cravings are slightly different, don't panic, we still have your back.
All types of fruit contain a naturally occurring sugar which will rid you of your milk chocolate craving.
Opting for the sugar-free one doesn't mean you have to compromise on taste — most use artificial sweeteners, meaning you are ingesting far fewer grams of salt while maintaining the flavour.
Packed full of nutrients and carbohydrates to give you energy, the natural sweetness of this product will kick your sugar cravings while providing you with multiple vitamins. Perfect!
Hopefully, by now, you'll know what craving salt means and, more importantly, how to curb your cravings — and your sugar urges too!