I’ve been in denial for some time, but I’ve finally come to admit that I have a problem… with salt. It turns out salt is just one of the many things we can get hooked on. Consuming salt causes the release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter in our brains associated with pleasure, making salty foods just as addictive as alcohol or nicotine.
My husband recently pointed out an article in the latest Prevention Magazine that focuses on NaCl, pointing out that it can contribute not only to high blood pressure, but also to obesity and even osteoporosis. My first reaction was to ask him to keep it to himself since it is his blood pressure, not mine, that tends to be on the high side.
But since then I’ve noticed just how much I like salt. I love the dregs at the bottom of a bag of chips, where the salt tends to concentrate. At the movie theater tonight, I watched the freshly popped popcorn cascade over the edge of the popper and imagined dipping into a tub of salty buttery popcorn.
Now that I recognize this craving, I’m determined to cut back on my salt intake. The recommended daily salt allowance is 2/3 teaspoon or less. Since we eat very little processed food, most of my salt intake is under my control. I’m not ready to quit salting my food altogether, but I can certainly cut way back on things I make. According to the Prevention article, our bodies get used to the reduction and no longer ask for as much.
How do you feel about salt? Are you hooked?