Many people today are advised to avoid salt. We are seeing an increase in hypertension and high blood pressure. 1 in 3 Americans have high blood pressure. Salt is a known cause of high blood pressure. Salt is an essential part of our diet, even though it may be overused in prepared foods and processed snacks. Salt (or sodium chloride) is a mineral that plays an important role in maintaining the body’s electrolyte balance and hydration. Simply put, without salt, we would starve. What does this mineral do for your body? These health benefits can be achieved by taking the right amount of sodium, but not too much or too little.
Do not ignore signs of electrolyte deficiencies. Coconut water is a good option if you are experiencing muscle spasms or cramps. You can also eat celery, cucumbers or watermelon to replenish lost trace minerals quickly. Are none of these options available? You will need to drink water with some salt and sugar.
Water loves salt. Potassium and sodium work together to regulate water balance within and outside the cells of the body. Dehydration or water intoxication can occur if a person is deficient in salt. Too much sodium can lead to bloating, water retention, and even death. This happens when you consume too much refined table salt. Sea salt is the best option for hydration. Sea salt is rich in trace minerals, making it an excellent source of electrolytes.
2. Heart Health
We know that sodium plays a significant role in blood pressure levels. Hypertension can be caused by too much sodium due to excessive consumption of refined salt. Too much sodium can lead to low blood pressure, which can also pose a risk to your heart health. Low blood pressure can be treated by increasing salt intake and fluid intake, which will increase blood volume and raise blood pressure.
3. Brain and Nerve Health
Sodium regulates water levels in the body. Both sodium and water are vital for electrical signal transmission in the brain. The nerve cells are activated by the sodium electrolytes in their nerve cells. This causes an electrical charge that activates a nerve impulse, also known as an action potential. These electrical impulses are what the nerves need to know. Too much salt can cause electrical signal malfunction, which can threaten nerve function and health.
4. Muscle Function
Electrolytes are required by the body to activate all movements. Your brain sends commands to your body when you move. Electrolytes surround the muscle cells and form a perfect balance between sodium, magnesium and potassium inside and outside of the cell walls. A lack of electrolytes can cause muscle malfunction, which can manifest itself as cramps or spasms.
A person may experience a decrease in hydrochloric acid production (HCL) if she doesn’t eat enough salt. HCL, also known by stomach acid, is essential for proper digestion. A person who consumes too much HCL is at risk of low nutrition absorption, heartburn, iron deficiency and other autoimmune diseases. Sea salt contains chloride, which is what makes up hydrochloric acids. If you don’t have enough, consider adding sea salt to your meals.
6. Water Balance
Hyponatremia occurs when there isn’t enough sodium in the cell walls. This can cause over-hydration or water intoxication. Hyponatremia is when the sodium levels in your body are diluted. Hyponatremia can be caused by an underlying medical condition. It could also be caused by drinking too much water after exerting extreme physical effort. The body doesn’t have enough sodium to balance water so cells start to absorb water and swell. This can lead to mild to severe medical conditions. The Mayo Clinic states that water intoxication can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, confusion, fatigue, muscle weakness, seizures, and restlessness. It is important that athletes drink fluids that are rich in electrolytes. Hyponatremia is more common in people with certain medical conditions. They should be careful about how much water they consume and try to avoid high-intensity activities.
7. Oral Hygiene
Salt-water rinses can reduce swelling in the throat and mouth because salt follows water. Salt can relieve sore gums, ulcers, sore throats, and other uncomfortable swellings in the mouth. Salt pulls out the water from the affected area. This reduces swelling and makes it easier to swallow in the case of a sore throat. In a cup of hot water, mix 1/2 teaspoon salt. Take a few mouthfuls of the salt mixture and then swish it in a cup of warm water.
8. Muscle Health
As we have already mentioned, muscle movements are impossible without sodium. An electrolyte imbalance or deficiency can cause muscle spasms and cramps. If electrolytes aren’t replaced, electrolyte deficiency may occur through sweating, diarrhea and urination. Electrolyte deficiency can be especially common in athletes, such as cyclists and long-distance runners. Pregnancy is another common reason for electrolyte imbalance. Pregnancy can increase the body’s need for minerals. Muscle spasms or cramps can result if there aren’t enough minerals.