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How Salt Affect the Human Body and Why Salt Addiction Appears

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Salt is also known as sodium chloride (NaCl), which is 40% sodium and 60% chlorine, these two minerals perform different functions in our body. There are many different types of salt, for example, table salt, pink Himalayan, marine, kosher, stone, black, and many others. These salts are different in taste, texture, and color. The difference in composition is insignificant, around 97% is sodium chloride.

Some salt varieties may contain small amounts of calcium, selenium, potassium, copper, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc. Iodine is often added to it. From time to time, salt was used to preserve food. A large amount of this seasoning inhibits the growth of putrefactive bacteria, due to which products spoil.

Regular table salt undergoes considerable processing: it is crushed and cleaned of impurities and minerals. The problem is that the ground salt sticks together in lumps. Therefore, various substances are added to it, for example, food emulsifier E536, potassium ferrocyanide, which is harmful to our health. Unscrupulous manufacturers do not indicate this substance in the composition on the label. But it is possible to determine its presence by a bitter taste.

Sea salt is produced by evaporation and purification of sea water. In composition, it is very similar to ordinary salt, the only difference is in a small number of minerals. But since the sea waters are heavily polluted with heavy metals, they may also be present in sea salt.

Salt is not only the largest dietary source of sodium but also a flavor enhancer. Sodium binds water in the body and maintains the right balance of intracellular and extracellular fluids. It is also an electrically charged molecule that, along with potassium, helps maintain electrical gradients across cell membranes, that regulates ion-exchange processes in the cells of the body.

The more sodium in our bloodstream, the more water it binds. Therefore, blood pressure increases (the heart must work harder to push the blood all over the body) and the tension in the arteries and various organs increases.

How salt intake affects health

Everyone knows that sugar is harmful to health. And what do we know about salt? Unfortunately, you can make an analogy and say that salt is the second sugar. Information about its harm is not as common as the harm of sugar. And this is due to the fact that salt has no direct connection with weight gain and obesity. The consequences of the use of excessive amounts of salt for a long time does not affect the appearance of a person, but they will appear later.

For decades, research and reputable health care organizations have suggested the need to reduce salt intake. The American Heart Association sets the level of 1500 mg of sodium per day. This amount of sodium is contained in about one teaspoon or 5 grams of salt. However, the majority of the adult population consuming at least twice as high as these norms.

The number of deaths from cardiovascular diseases associated with the consumption of more than 1000 mg of sodium per day in 2017 was estimated at 2.3 million people - 42% of coronary heart disease and 41% of stroke.

Eating a large amount of this food supplement causes an increase in blood pressure and increases the risk of stroke and heart disease, especially for people with hypertension which is sensitive to salt. It is also known that an excessive amount of sodium in the body leads to leaching of calcium and may cause a decrease in bone density, or osteoporosis. Both of them can lead to chronic back, wrist, elbow, and foot pain, as well as problems with teeth.

Why Does Salt Addiction Arises?
Lack of salt is just as dangerous as an excess of it. Its deficiency causes a strong craving for salt, and can also be a sign of illness. Let's take a look at several reasons that cause the desire to consume salt.

1. Dehydration
To maintain the body, it is necessary to control the fluid balance. If its amount in the body falls below the permissible limit, then comes a desire to eat something salty. 

2. Electrolyte imbalance
In our body fluids play the role of a transport system, they carry the necessary minerals. Sodium, which is found in salt is an electrolyte, is one of the vital minerals. In the case of electrolyte imbalance, there are possible negative effects such as headaches, fatigue, low energy level, apathy, bad mood, excitement, nausea or vomiting.

3. Addison's disease
This is a rare disease of the adrenal cortex, resulting in a decrease in the amount of vital hormones produced, primarily cortisol. One of the symptoms is salt craving.

4. Stress
Cortisol, called the stress hormone, helps control blood pressure and causes the body to respond to stressful situations. A study found an inverse relationship between the amount of sodium and cortisol in the body. 

The more sodium, the less this hormone is produced in stressful situations. That is why in a tense, stressful period appears crave for salt and salty foods. The body in this way tries to reduce the production of cortisol.

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Late to read this. Must have missed it somehow earlier.

I've been a salt user for a long time. I salted just about EVERYTHING.  Even WITHOUT tasting the food first for taste. I've been lucky that my BP has been normal to mini-slightly high.

But a health crisis occurred this past February that now has caused me to delete salt on just about everything I eat (except EGGS. You just have to put salt on eggs!).🥚 And I'm being careful about processed foods or those with other additives.  Don't particularly care for salt substitutes, so I've just stopped using added table salt. Funny thing is that I don't seem to mind its absence.

The article here seems to not address the one reason that I think many use salt as much as they do. SALT JUST MAKES FOOD TASTE BETTER! I remember doing a CEU reading about obesity and one reason was addressed that I had never seen addressed before. Some people just overeat because the food just tastes soooo good!

I could polish off pizza with no regard to hunger or satiation - I just can't get enough of the taste. Same way with good caramels candy - so smoooothly sweet. And who LOVES plain old meatloaf - just simple brown gravy it up and add a lot of salt and I'm a happy camper until  feel guilty eating so much. (It's usually a conscience awareness that I recognize that makes me stop.

So it seems to me there is also a psychological component to salt consumption. It must be those endorphens that are being released as the pleasure of the salt taste released to our taste buds trigger those neuroreceptors that just start firing.

One thing for the record  - when I first read the title, all I could think of was reindeer licking those salt licks in the winter. Well, I googled saltlicks and they make things for humans! So I guess there must be a significant number of us who don't seem to get enough of salt.

To OP - interesting reading. TY

 

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Salt-a-holic here.  👍  I'm munching on salted pistachios right now. 

I've always preferred salty over sweet.  

One of the downfalls that can happen in a low-carb diet, which I'm on right now, is that can of Pringles staring at me from the shelf.  

I don't limit my salt at all, just carbs.  

BP is good. 

I have an article archived from 2011 that I'll share.  

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/its-time-to-end-the-war-on-salt/

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