Salt (sodium chloride) is far more than simply a seasoning for our food, since it also plays a crucial role in keeping our body in healthy working order. In this blog post, we are going to highlight a number of important bodily functions to which salt is essential.
Salt helps us to stay hydrated
Sodium is an essential electrolyte, which the human body requires for water to be delivered to your cells. If you don’t have enough sodium in your system, then you are at risk of becoming dehydrated or even developing Hyponatremia, a serious and potentially life-threatening medical condition.
Since you also lose electrolytes, as well as water, when you sweat, this is also the reason why it’s important to replace lost electrolytes, including sodium, when you’re in hot weather, particularly if you’re exercising.
Electrolytes also trigger us to feel thirsty ensuring we consume the appropriate amount of water, which our kidneys then regulate to keep the required number of electrolytes in our bloodstream.
Low levels of salt can lead to painful cramps
Sodium allows nerve impulses to be transmitted around the body, including the impulses that stimulate muscle contraction. That means that, if your sodium levels drop, nerve signals can be affected leading to muscle cramps.
This is why an intake of salt before exercising can help to prevent muscle cramping. Salt also keeps calcium and other minerals in the blood stream.
Salt plays an important role in digestion
Good digestion begins in the stomach, which means that if the stomach environment is unbalanced there can be a negative impact on digestive health. Hydrochloric acid is essential in the gut as it helps to kill bacteria. If an individual has low levels of hydrochloric acid, they may find themselves susceptible to stomach flu. Salt is one of the best sources of chloride and adequate levels of chloride are necessary to produce Hydrochloric acid.
Sodium is an essential mineral that the body cannot make on its own. Salt consumption should be based on individuals and their health.