Why You Love Eating Table Salt and How to Fight this Bad Habit

While the afternoon dessert is a mandatory tradition for some people, others cannot go without a pack of potato chips. However, the desire to pass over the salt shaker at the dinner table can be because of our parents, since the preference for sodium is passed on by inheritance (at least in rats, as the research claims).

Some scientists even believe that the unsatisfied desire for salt is due to evolution, as this spice has been used for centuries to conserve food. The big questions, however, are whether or not salt is actually harmful, how to get rid of the habit of filling almost anything with it, and whether it is really needed at all?

What you need to know about salt

In small quantities, salt is not only delicious but also crucial for the body. Table salt is made up of 40% sodium – an electrolyte that helps balance the fluids in the body. The more you take in, the more water you will retain. Too much sodium, however, will bring you a lot more trouble than just a bad taste in your mouth.

It is prudent not to consume more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, the equivalent to approximately one teaspoon of salt. People with medical issues, such as high blood pressure, should limit the amount to a maximum of 1,500 mg.

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The average American, however, consumes over 7,000 mg daily, which can lead to heart disease. Kidneys are challenged when handling excess sodium, which increases the amount of the compound in the bloodstream. In turn, the heart needs to work harder to pump the blood, which raises the blood pressure to critical levels.

However, when a pack of potato chips stays open next to you, it is almost impossible not to touch it, and this neglected desire to eat something salty may be due to several factors.

One of them is a calcium deficiency. Sodium temporarily increases the levels of calcium in the blood, misleading the body by telling it that it has plenty. The more salt you consume, the more calcium your body will use.

Ultimately, this will result in excessive amounts of salt in the body and too little calcium. A lack of potassium can also cause a person to experience an insatiable desire for salt, although the relationship between these two substances has not been sufficiently studied.

In turn, the lack of enough sodium can act as a brain alert and cause you to start replenishing the exhausted supply (making it harder to stop before the bag of chips is empty).

Do not pass the salt shaker

In fact, many foods contain more salt than you would think. And since it helps to preserve food, making everything in your dish more delicious, it can be difficult to reduce it significantly. In some cases, it even creates a dependence (so we should not condemn sugar only in this regard). Here are some suggestions on how to keep your salt intake in check:

Watch out for secret sources.

Read the labels on the products carefully. Substances such as monosodium glutamate, sodium bicarbonate, and sodium phosphate contain large amounts of it. They are found in the places you least expect, such as spices and pastries. So be careful what you actually put on your plate.

Be careful with the food packaging.

Products that are designated to contain less sodium have only 25% less salt than the regular options.

Eat fresh products.

Sodium is usually added to processed foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables almost contain no sodium. So, make them a significant part of your diet. Also, it is better to limit raw meat.

Reload after a workout.

Excessive sweating frees the body from much of its salt, which can lead to an insatiable desire to eat something salty. How do you handle this problem? Electrolyte-rich sports drinks help to quickly replace lost electrolytes (especially in hot weather or when training for longer than an hour).

Do not be fooled.

Sea salt contains as much sodium as the table one. Table salt, also called iodized salt, includes the vital mineral iodine that helps control the metabolism and thyroid functions. On the other hand, not all types of sea salt contain iodine.

Leave it alone.

When cooking, you can skip the salt at the expense of some spices and herbs. Besides, it’s better to make your own soup instead of betting on pre-cooked soups that are often full of salt.

Slowly limit the intake.

The desire for salt is acquired so you can learn to love it less. Gradually reduce the intake, and it could only take a week to get used to a lesser amount.

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