Here's what your body's telling you when you crave salt, sugar, and spicy foods - and a few healthier alternatives. This comes from Dr. Alan R. Hirsch, head of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, and MSNBC: * When you crave salty food - it means you may have a mineral deficiency. Studies show that adults with low levels of calcium, potassium or iron crave salty snacks. Partly because sodium temporarily boosts mineral levels in your blood, tricking your body into thinking the problem is solved. What's the fix? Pop a daily multivitamin.* Okay, what's it mean when you crave chocolate? You may be depressed. Chocolate is an instant mood-booster, and even the tiniest taste causes your body to release a burst of the feel-good chemical, serotonin. So, find a healthier way to boost your serotonin levels, like exercise.* Then, when you crave spicy food, it means you may be overheated. Studies show that eating spicy food causes you to perspire, which helps you cool down. That would help explain why spicy foods are popular in really hot climates. Research also suggests that some people become addicted to the rush you can get from spicy food, including the spike in blood pressure, a faster heart rate, and rapid breathing. So, if you're craving chips and salsa, take a cool shower.* If you crave sugar, you may be mildly depressed, or just low in energy. Studies show that your body absorbs the refined sugar in candy, cookies and cake faster than from any other type of food. So, sugary snacks give you an immediate burst of fuel. The fix: Eat more complex carbs - like multi-grain cereal and brown rice - to keep your blood sugar level even throughout the day.* Finally, what's your body saying when crave sweet and salty - like a chocolate-covered pretzel? It needs an energy boost. The cells in your body need glucose and sodium to function properly, and if they don't get enough, your cells start to get sluggish, and you get tired. The fix: Boost your energy with a brisk walk around the block.