why do we get thirsty when we eat salty foods

Salt is an essential element required for maintaining proper function of each and every cell in the body besides its importance in making the food tasty. In the stomach salt helps to stabilize its pH. During stress salt plays an important and active role in maintaining healthy level of adrenaline. However, on the other side eating too much of salt can be detrimental for health as it can contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease. Eating too much of salty food makes you feel more thirsty. This is because excessive salt can disrupt the balance between the extracellular and intracellular fluid in the body. Why Do You Get Thirsty After Eating Salty Food? Water and salt are two main building block of any living fleshed animal. Both are basic material required by each organ for their development. Salt is an electrolyte that keeps the muscles and nerve impulses active. The amount of fluid within and outside the cell is kept balanced because of electrolyte sodium. When you eat too much of salty food in your diet, the digestive system absorbs salt from its wall and sends it into the bloodstream in the form of sodium.


If there is intake of too much of sodium containing food, the blood becomes saturated with sodium content. As a result there is imbalance between fluid present in the cell and in the fluid outside the cell. The extra sodium in the fluid outside the cell pulls out water present in the cell. The cell notices its change and sends chemical message to the brain to act and dilute the salt in the extra cellular fluid. Brain reacts to the message and activates the thirst center in the brain cells to drink more water. This is why a person who eats too much of sodium containing food becomes thirsty. Eating food that is high in sodium does not only make you thirsty but it can have detrimental effect on your health in a long run. If you are consuming extra salt in your diet or you are eating too much of processed food you may knowingly or unknowingly increase sodium salt in the body. If the sodium content is high, kidney realizes it but at some point it becomes incapable to throw out excess of salt from the urine. As a result it starts to retain more water to dilute sodium and in the process there is fluid retention leading to swelling in lower leg and other dependent parts of the body.


At the same time there is increased volume in the blood due to retained fluid. The consequence is quite grave. Over a period of time it can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. Most experts recommend taking not more than 500 milligrams of sodium in a day. But most people consume more than that required by the body. The best way to reduce intake of extra sodium is to avoid eating processed food as they contain high amount of sodium. Instead eat a healthy diet that contains lots of vegetables and fruits, besides whole grains, fish, egg, etc.
Most food you eat is made up of long molecules. For example, if you eat bread, that has carbohydrates, which are long molecules made up of sugars. But they re not complete sugars! A simple sugar molecule has the formula C6H12O6. It s usually a ring structure thingy (I don t know, I haven t studied organic chemistry). An example of this is glucose. Now, if you put two of them together and take away two hydrogens and an oxygen to link them, you ll have a more complicated molecule made up of two simple sugars and a water.


This is called dehydration synthesis, because you synthesize a longer molecule out of two smaller ones by taking out a water molecule. So if you want to link a whole bunch of sugars together, you need to remove the atoms of a water molecule every time. Thing is, your body uses the simple sugars, but it s the long chains of them that come in food (these are called complex carbohydrates, since they re complex molecules made of carbon atoms and the equivalent of water molecules). So it has to break up the long chains. You take two hydrogens and an oxygen out when you join them, so if you want to separate them again, you need to add that back! It takes water to split a complex carbohydrate. (It also takes time, which means you don t get all the sugar into your blood at the same time. Getting all that sugar at once is bad for you, so complex carbohydrates are better in that sense. ) So since you re splitting all those complex carbohydrates, you need to use up water, so your body starts doing that, which makes you thirsty. Salt actually dries you out for completely different reasons!

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