Why does adding salt improve food's taste

Why does salt improve the taste of many foods.
Health Nazi’s aside, adding a little salt to foods such as chips(fries) really improves the taste and it seems that it’s not the salt you’re tasting but a synergy of it and the food.
How does this work and why the seeming evolutionary preference for salt in food in humans, at least as I know it in the west.
It seems that many foods especially potatoes and vegetables improve in taste, is this purely a cultural preference, did the origional american potato eaters add salt?

We all know the tongue has taste buds. Some react specifically to salt. Salt makes an otherwise bland food, like your garden-variety potato, and makes it savory.

If there’s an evolutionary preference for salt in food, it’s probably because too little salt is, believe it or not, dangerous, even fatal. See: Is it possible to drink too much water?; Salt and the Athlete.

And it isn’t purely a human trait. Your local pet shop or feed store probably sells salt licks for your animals.

Salt, though the “nutrition nazis” have apparently made you think otherwise, does have a place in our diets, but (as with all the things I love) it must be used in moderation.

In addition to the pretty-much well-summed-up post by Gr8Kat, I’d like to say…

It doesn’t. :wink:

Not a “Health Nazi” or anything here, just don’t like the taste of salt. :slight_smile:

Do you manage to get salt in your diet pervertatoid?

Of course I do. Not saying I like it…but then again, in certain foods, the excess amounts of other flavors cover up the sodium taste. When I make Spaghetti, there’s already salt in the tomato sauce, and I’m sure there’s salt in many of the other ingredients…but you can’t taste it. You taste tomato, oregano, garlic, wine (at least, in my sauce you do), sugar…

Like I said…Gr8Kat’s post was well-summed-up.