In this blog post, we highlight five health benefits of salt that you may not be aware of.
The human body requires sodium in order to carry out vital functions and, since it cannot be produced by the body, it can be consumed in the form of salt (sodium chloride).
Both sodium and chloride play a number of essential roles in the functioning of the human body.
- The Nervous System
Sodium and chloride are electrolytes which help to regulate the amount of water inside and outside of our cells, ensuring that the messages sent from the brain to the body, and vice versa, are transmitted effectively by the nervous system. Salt plays a vital role in water retention, muscle contraction, and digestion.
- Blood Pressure
Whilst most people have heard about the potential negative effects on blood pressure of ingesting too much salt, it’s just as important to be aware of the fact that having too little salt in your diet can result in dangerously low blood pressure. Sodium helps to regulate fluids in the body, essential for maintaining a healthy blood pressure. You can read more about Salt and Health in this article.
- Prevents Dehydration
In addition to playing a role in the regulation of water in the body, which is key to staying hydrated, electrolytes including sodium and chloride also trigger thirst, so you are alerted when you need to consume more water. For example, during a hangover you may find yourself craving salt because your body is trying to retain water in order to combat dehydration. Likewise, when your body has lost fluids and salt through sweating or illness, it is essential they are replaced. We discuss the Importance of Salt in Your Diet in this blog post.
- A Good Night’s Sleep
We know that salt is essential to keep our bodies in a healthy working order and that the body gives us signals when more salt is required. It has been suggested that diets low in sodium can also affect sleep quality. Scientists are researching whether low serum sodium levels in individuals contribute to insomnia.
- Healthy, Glowing Skin
Staying hydrated is also factor in healthy, glowing skin. As well as helping to keep you hydrated, salt can be used in a myriad of ways externally on the skin for additional benefits.
The NHS guideline for adults is 6g of salt per day (equivalent to 2400mg sodium), which is needed to maintain the healthy function of body fluids, muscle and nerve activity.
More information can be found on the Salt Sense Blog Salt Sense – Balancing the Debate.