Why Does Salt Make You Thirsty?

Photo by Jason Tuinstra on Unsplash

You’ve noticed that salty foods make you thirsty, but have you ever wondered why that happens? Salt is one of the most common and the oldest seasonings and saltiness is one of the basic tastes we have as humans. And while salt is essential for life, too much of it can be bad for your health and wellbeing.

When you intake salt, it becomes absorbed into your bloodstream and your blood becomes saltier, making the fluids outside of your cells saltiers than those inside the cells. As you’ve probably heard somewhere before, “salt attracts water,” and this is literally what happens – it pulls water out of your cells like a magnet. The cells work hard to hold in the water and they send a message to your brain, letting it know what’s happening.

Your brain understands that your blood saltiness levels are off and it triggers the alarm that tells you you need to drink water in order to dilute the salt. This is thirst.

Your kidneys are another important factor in regulating blood saltines levels. They help dilute the salt by not letting you lose any more water than necessary, meaning they slow down urine production. The balancing of salt and water is, therefore, directly related to the amount of water you have in your blood and cells, which controls your blood pressure.