Salt & Our Health


The health benefits of salt

The current recommended daily allowance for salt as stipulated by the Food Standards Agency, has not been changed for almost 20 years.

When the guidelines were reviewed in 2003, the available evidence was scrutinised but no drastically new conclusions were drawn. Over the last 12 years, new evidence has emerged that calls into question the view that salt is fundamentally bad for health. Here are 6 reasons that responsible salt consumption, is in fact good for your health

1. Evidence suggests it does not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease

In 2013 the Institute of Medicine in America published a report concluding that there’s no evidence to support current efforts to lower sodium consumption to less than 2.3g /day (around 6g of salt) and The New England Journal of Medicine published findings that cast doubt over the current recommendations.

The Institute of Medicine found that reducing sodium intake beyond 2.3g a day had no positive effects.

2. Lowers stress

Research has shown that stress hormones are inhibited by higher levels of sodium in the body. Researchers at the University of Haifa’s Department of Psychology say that people may crave salt partly because its main component, sodium, helps fight depression.

3. Improves sleep quality

Salt has been found to inhibit stress hormones. This may explain why people have reported that low sodium diets result in sleep interference.

4. Improves digestion

Your body needs salt to maintain the proper stomach pH. Stomach acid is hydrochloric acid and salt is sodium chloride.  The hydrochloric acid in your stomach is derived from your salt intake and is fundamental to the digestion of your food. Stomach acid levels are crucial for good digestion and enable food to be broken down effectively.

5. Salt stimulates muscle contraction

Salt provides the electrolyte which enables your brain to communicate with the various muscles in your body and control movement. It also reduces the incidence of muscles cramp, especially when exercising.

6. A lack of salt is dangerous

The AJH review concluded that low vs. normal salt intake produced a higher risk of all- cause mortality than high vs. normal intake.

Salt is an essential part of everyday life, especially when it comes to health. There are many health benefits which can be enjoyed with a sensible approach to salt consumption.

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