If you crave salty foods when you're under stress, Wellness Expert Peggy Hall says not to beat yourself up over it -- believe it or not, salt acts as "nature's tranquilizer."
Researchers have found that in times of stress, the body excretes sodium. In test subjects that had elevated levels of sodium, their bodies excreted fewer stress hormones and they recovered faster from the stressful event.
Furthermore, people with higher levels of sodium are less anxious in stressful situations and their heart rate and blood pressure do not rise as much as people with low levels of sodium.
So how does this related to salt cravings?
Peggy explains that sodium levels in your body are determined by a hormone produced by your adrenal glands.
"When you're under stress, your body loses sodium and thus may prompt you to eat more salt to compensate," she says.
Peggy adds that the problem is most people turn to potato chips, pretzels, corn chips and other artificially salted foods that are also high in fat. She suggests getting your sodium from natural sources such as celery, rice cakes, cucumbers or olives.
If you have a hankering for chips, try Peggy's favorite alternative: Dried seaweed chips!
"These can be found in the big warehouse stores these days," she says. "At only about 50 calories, they are inexpensive, crunchy, naturally salty, tasty and good for you!"
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