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How can eating salt affect my mood?

Here's something potato chip addicts around the world might already suspect: Our bodies may equate salty tastes with more smiles.

The research is new and early, but a lab study on sodium deficiency suggests that being salt-deprived links up with feelings of depression. And although most people aren't salt deficient, salt cravings could be your body reacting to this feel-better hardwiring.

Taking a pass on pleasurable activities is a classic symptom of depression in humans. So when researchers noticed that sodium-deficient mice tended to shy away from activities they normally enjoy -- like sipping a sugar-water concoction -- a light bulb went on. Salt cravings could be the body trying to hit the happiness reboot button. Even though most of us get plenty of salt in our modern diets, that hardwiring may still remain.

Although mice and people are pretty different creatures, and more study of the salt/mood connection is needed, understanding the impact that your emotions have on your eating habits is always a smart idea. It's the first step toward making healthier choices.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.