By Morne Botha ( Nat.Dipl. Personal Training., Nat.Cert In Nutrition)
Salt, also known as sodium chloride, is often thought of as a villain when it comes to health and nutrition. Many health experts recommend limiting salt intake to lower the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. But while it’s true that consuming too much salt can be harmful, it’s also important to note that salt is an essential nutrient that plays a vital role in maintaining our overall health and wellbeing. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the ways in which salt is an underrated supplement and how including it in our diet in the right amounts can actually benefit our health.
First and foremost, salt is essential for maintaining proper fluid balance in the body. Sodium, the main component of salt, helps regulate the amount of water in and around cells, which is crucial for proper cellular function. A lack of salt can lead to dehydration and a host of other health problems. In fact, low-sodium diets are not recommended for people with certain health conditions, such as kidney disease, as it can cause further complications.
Salt is also important for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. The kidneys use sodium to help regulate blood pressure, and a diet that is too low in salt can cause blood pressure to drop, which can be dangerous for some people. While consuming too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, a moderate intake of salt can actually help maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
Salt is also a major source of electrolytes, which are minerals that help to balance fluids in the body and support proper muscle and nerve function. Electrolytes like sodium, chloride, and potassium are lost through sweat during exercise and other physical activity, and consuming salt can help replenish them.
Another benefit of salt is that it helps improve nutrient absorption. Salt helps to break down food in the stomach, which can lead to better absorption of vital nutrients like calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
It is worth noting that, while consuming appropriate amount of salt is beneficial to the body , consuming too much salt can be harmful, leading to hypertension and increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Therefore, it is important to consume salt in moderation.
In summary, salt is an essential nutrient that plays a vital role in maintaining our overall health and wellbeing. While it’s true that consuming too much salt can be harmful, consuming an appropriate amount of salt can help to regulate fluid balance, maintain healthy blood pressure levels, support muscle and nerve function, and improve nutrient absorption. So, don’t be afraid to sprinkle a little salt on your food and consider it a beneficial supplement in your daily diet.