Eating salty foods makes people thirsty because excessive sodium pulls the water out of their body's cells, according to Indiana Public Media. This occurs because the fluid outside the cells becomes saltier, and salt acts like a magnet to water. The cells send chemical messengers to the brain that indicate that they are losing water. The brain realizes the body needs more water and activates the thirst mechanism.
Excessive salt intake can lead to health consequences, of which high blood pressure is the most common, according to FitDay. The kidneys put excess sodium back into the bloodstream. This results in the retention of water as the body copes with the water loss caused by the excess sodium. This retention of water results in increased blood volume, which raises blood pressure. FitDay also notes that osteoporosis can be caused by excessive sodium intake. Sodium decreases bone density and interferes with calcium absorption, causing osteoporosis over time. While excessive sodium intake is a health risk, sodium is a necessary part of a person's diet. Salt is needed to balance the fluids in the body as well as for proper muscle contractions and nerve function. The body needs at least 500 milligrams of salt per day. An amount over 2,300 milligrams is considered excessive.