Sunday, December 26, 2010

Desalinating



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?


8 Comments:

Blogger Cyndy said...

I never add salt to anything and I hate it when there's too much salt in something. I just wish I felt the same about sugar!

12:39 AM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

I very, very rarely add salt to my food. And, my Mother always complains that my pasta needs salt. Of course, that's the least of her complaints.
That being said there are certain times that all I want is salty popcorn or "the dregs at the bottom of the chip bag". Hopefully once I hit menopause those urges will diminish.
Hi Barbara!!!!!

7:05 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Cyndy -- Those kale chips I served you were way too salty. I'm so sorry! Even I knew it.

Hope your mug arrived...unbroken!

Gewels -- Anyone who wants it can always add more, but there's no getting the salt out once it's in a dish. Not really.

8:33 AM  
Blogger lacochran's evil twin said...

I am a salt fiend. I love it! I even salt my toast. I am blessed with low blood pressure and I think cutting back on salt could be dangerous for me. After all, salt is a critical part of our make up. For real. You cut out all salt and you can wind up with brain damage. Salt away!

9:00 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

LA -- Finally someone like me! My blood pressure has always been low and I have always craved salt. But I do have to remember that most of my husband's family died from strokes and heart attacks.

I think there's a happy medium and I'm still way over the top. But I don't salt my toast...

9:12 AM  
Blogger kvn299 said...

*covers ears*

LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU!

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For whatever reason I haven't been drawn to salty food the last 15 or so years. But as a younger adult, and especially as a kid, I'd have occasional "salt binges" -- kinda like w/a drug -- I'd go overboard with extra-salty nuts, chips, etc. It would make my heart race, I'd get flushed...then I'd feel "hung-over" and dehydrated for a full day. Nowadays I salt some of my dishes just enough to "brighten" the flavor but not add a salty taste, if that makes sense.

Good luck making this healthy change!

F.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kevin -- I had forgotten that you too are a salt addict!

Anon -- I like the idea of brightening without adding an obvious salty taste. That's where I am trying to go!

12:24 PM  

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