Are you sometimes craving salt? This is due to your natural craving cycle. Food cravings are a natural part of life. Some of us crave potato chips, while others crave chocolate, refined carbohydrates, or salty foods which are ultimately unhealthy. Salt cravings may indicate something else. Keep reading. Here’s what we’ll cover in this article.
What Salt Cravings Are All About
What Ayurveda Has To Say
Vata And Pitta Dosha: Effects Of Too Much Salt
How To Overcome Salt Cravings
READ MORE: Watch: 15 Minute Cooling Pitta Yoga Sequence
Research has shown that many food cravings are not actually cravings for the food itself. Instead, they indicate that the body is deficient in certain minerals. When craving salt, or other substances, we may look to unhealthy foods but minerals are best found in whole, healthy foods that will not cause other health problems. Minerals taken from natural sources are in a form that best allows them to be absorbed by the body.
When deciding what to eat, you should know your constitution or body type and understand its relationship to various kinds of food. You should understand the effects that food will have on your unique doshic balance.
Your diet should be composed of all the six rasas or tastes,. They are sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent. All of these have an impact on the Tridoshas. The Tridosha are a combination of the five basic elements or the Pancha mahabhutas. Similarly the six rasas or tastes are also a manifestation of the five basic elements of nature, or the Pancha mahabhutas, earth, water, fire, air, and space.
The salty taste is a combination of the Fire and Water elements. It pacifies Vata, and aggravates Pitta and Kapha doshas.
With salt cravings, one or more of these doshas may be deranged or imbalanced. If you have an imbalance of one of these doshas or qualities, Ayurveda recommends avoiding foods and lifestyle habits that cause the imbalance of that quality and/or dosha. These imbalanced doshas and qualities will need to be brought back into balance before this condition can be healed.
Don't know your Dosha yet? Take this quick 3 minute Dosha quiz to find out!
A fast-paced and stressful environment can easily lead to Vata and Pitta imbalances.
When nerves are exhausted and overwhelmed, your body will try to naturally regain equilibrium. You are likely to crave sweet, sour, and salty tastes because they calm Vata dosha.
On the other hand, an indulgence in salty food while catering to these cravings may aggravate Pitta and Kapha dosha. Aggravated Pitta will manifest itself in feelings of anger, crankiness, and irritability. You might crave sweet, cold treats such as ice cream or iced beverages. A healthy approach would include bitter and astringent foods, which would help cool and calm a Pitta imbalance.
So, craving salt calls for Vata dosha to be remedied without causing your Pitta to aggravate.
The Ayurvedic scholar Charaka says that there are three substances that should not be taken in excess or used continuously – pippali (Piper longum), alkali, and salt.
He justifies this by saying that salt is associated with hot and sharp properties. It is deliquescent which means, it has a tendency to absorb moisture from the air and dissolve into it. It is capable of producing a laxative effect. It gives taste to food.
When used properly it produces good results.
It is an appetizer, digestive, and laxative. If used excessively it is responsible for the accumulation of doshas. It produces fatigue, lassitude, and weakness in the body.
Experiencing slight fluctuations of emotions, energy levels, or mood will allow you to be more mindful of your needs. Instead of reaching for a salty snack, carry some healthy alternatives with you. Sweet apples, apricots, almonds, herbal teas, seeds, and berries are good choices.
Follow a Vata pacifying diet.
Include warm cooked food and beverages in your diet, as well as soft and oily foods. Minimize raw, cold, and dry foods.
Boiled vegetables like carrots, beetroot, sweet potatoes, zucchini, and asparagus should be preferred over grilled vegetables. Cold drinks, frozen desserts, and chilled yogurt should be avoided. Eat a sufficient quantity at regular intervals. Include adequate amounts of oily, warm, soft foods and warm drinks.
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1. DiabetesLibrary.org. “Mineral Deficiencies and Food Cravings.” Diabetes Library, 2016, diabeteslibrary.org/mineral-deficiencies-and-food-cravings.
2. Kaviraj Atridev Gupta, Ashtanga Samgraha, Sutra sthana, Chowkhamba Krishnadas Academy, Varanasi,2016, verse 36, p 8.
3. R.K Sharma, Bhagwan Dash, Charaka Samhita, Vol 2, Vimana Sthana, Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi,2017, verse 15, pp 119-120.
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