Why You Might Need More Salt (Yes, You Read That Right)

mbg Contributor By Irene Ross
mbg Contributor
Irene Ross is a wellness coach and writer/editor, with a B.A. from Marist College. She takes a food-first functional approach to wellness coaching, and has been educating and guiding clients for more than 10 years.

Giving in to those salt cravings once in a while may actually make you feel better.

To be clear, no one is suggesting that you eat a diet consistently high in salt. Most of us still consume far too much, going well over the recommended 2,300 milligrams a day. Too much salt is associated with high blood pressure and increased risk of heart and kidney disease.

You should always avoid the hidden salts found in those highly-processed foods. Instead, aim for purer and healthier versions other than the standard table salt, such as sea, black, and Celtic salts.

But eliminating it completely, though, just may not be the ultimate path to wellness.

"A low-salt diet may actually have some adverse consequences," said Dr. Kimberly Boyd of One Medical Group, citing a recent report from the Institute of Medicine. In fact, Dr. Boyd explained, lowering your salt intake below 2,300 milligrams doesn’t have much, if any, effect on heart disease, stroke, or mortality.

You may feel better by consuming some salt if:

1. Your adrenals are shot.

Adrenals, those little peanut-shaped glands located at the top of the kidneys, have a big function, not the least of which is producing aldosterone, which balances salt and potassium. When your adrenals are shot, they’ll fail to produce adequate amounts of aldosterone, disrupting the sodium balance and explaining the salt cravings, low blood pressure, and fatigue associated with adrenal dysfunction.

2. You're dehydrated.

It seems counterintuitive, but when the body loses too much water, it will lead to an electrolyte imbalance and start pulling nutrients from other sources, including salt.

3. You're stressed out. 

When sodium levels rise in the blood, the kidneys produce more of the “love hormone,” oxytocin, which lowers blood pressure, pain and anxiety levels.

4. You have a hormonal imbalance. 

If you're retaining water because of hormonal changes (related to your menstrual cycle or pregnancy), you'll probably also crave salt.

5. You have low blood pressure.

Low blood pressure is usually a good thing, but sometimes it can plunge too drastically and you’ll experience fainting, lightheadedness, nausea, and lack of concentration.

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