Salt isn’t just a seasoning that we add to our food. Infact, it’s crucial in keeping our body in healthy working order. Salt plays a vital role in water retention, muscle contraction, and digestion.
Salt helps keep water in the body
Our bodies rely on electrolytes including salt to carry out electrical impulses which control many of our functions. Electrolytes trigger us to feel thirsty, which means that we consume the right amount of water. With this water, our kidneys are able to keep the appropriate amount of electrolytes in our bloodstream.
Salt stimulates muscle contraction
Our nerves rely on salt to stimulate muscle contraction. This is why an intake of salt before exercising can help to prevent muscle cramping. We explored this in more detail in a recent blog article about the benefits of salt when exercising which you can read here. Salt also keeps calcium and other minerals in the blood stream.
The digestive system
Salt activates an enzyme in the mouth called salivary amylase which allows your taste buds to taste the food. Good digestion begins in the stomach and if the stomach environment is unbalanced everything else goes down hill. Hydrochloric acid helps to kill bacteria which is why people with low Hydochloric Acid frequently suffer from stomach flu. This is where salt comes in. We need adequate levels of chloride to produce hydrochloric acid and the best source of chloride is salt.
A lack of salt is dangerous
Sodium deficiency is a health condition where the body doesn’t receive enough sodium. This can become a problem in hot weather when the body will perspire more heavily than normal and dehydration will set in. An international study which released its findings in August tracked more than 100,000 people from 17 countries over 3 years and found that cutting back on salt actually poses health hazards. It found that those who consumed less than 3 grams of sodium a day had a 27% higher risk of suffering from health problems such a heart attacks or stroke than those whose sodium intake was between 3 and 6 grams.
Salt is an essential mineral of life. Every cell of our body requires it to survive and its consumption should be based on individuals and their health.