Hot chips, crisps, flavoured savoury biscuits, salted popcorn, fast food products, savoury baked goods like sausage rolls, sauces and marinades and flavourings, or even just plain old salt itself!
Salty food cravings tend to result from high levels of stress and/or adrenal fatigue. Your adrenal glands are organs that sit next to your kidneys, and under any kind of stress they produce and release a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol helps your body to cope with stress and also prepares you for a fight or flight response – i.e. are you going to run away from your stress (flight) or stay and deal with it (fight). This is said to come from your ancestors where a stressor was generally either being faced with a predator or some kind of famine.
Cortisol is helpful when produced in healthy amounts, but due to high levels of stress in today’s society, many of us are actually overproducing cortisol to keep up with their busy lives, and as a result your adrenal glands are overworked and become a bit sluggish and slow (hence the term adrenal fatigue). There are various stages of adrenal fatigue before it becomes a debilitating condition. The reason all that is important is because your adrenal glands need a variety of minerals to function, and to produce cortisol (stress hormone).
So when you are stressed, and your body is producing lots of cortisol to cope with that stress, you can end up quite deficient in minerals and as a result, start to crave salt! Natural salts contain a wide variety of minerals – even up to or more than 80 in some salts – and so your body knows that when it is mineral-deficient due to stress, salt may help to replace some of those minerals in your body. The issue is that table salt, iodised salt and chicken salt, the types that are normally used in the salty foods you crave are highly processed and contain little or no nutritional benefit.
That’s why you will keep craving more and more salt to cope with stress, because your mineral stores are not being replenished through the processed salts and your body doesn’t know what else to do.
What are your stress levels like? Are you living an extremely busy lifestyle, or are you prone to stress regardless of your workload? Are you allowing yourself time to relax, unwind and recharge your precious adrenal glands?
Here’s a top tip: spending just 20 minutes outside, whether you are moving your body or just sticking your toes in the sand or grass, has a cortisol-lowering effect for 21 hours afterwards. 21 hours benefit, from just 20 minutes!
Lower cortisol = healthier adrenal glands = less salt cravings
P.S. If you feel like food cravings are holding you back from staying consistent with your eating habits, click here to download my FREE food cravings guide.
P.P.S. If you’d like to know more about how I help women do all of the above (without guilt, or shame, or blame) you can click here to book a free intro session via phone or video call.