|Salt is important to your diet.|
It’s common knowledge that a diet low in salt is helpful in keeping your blood pressure low, right? Well, here’s some interesting news that flies in the face of this wisdom. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (May 4, 2011,) indicated that low salt consumption really doesn’t influence lower blood pressure, and interestingly enough, the risk of dying from cardiovascular problems is significantly higher.
This all boils down to your electrolyte balance. According to MedicineNet.com an electrolyte is: “A substance that will dissociate into ions in solution and acquire the capacity to conduct electricity. The electrolytes include sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and phosphate.” This is important to understand because your body has a complex electrical system. All your nerves firing, your heart beating, muscles contracting all do so by biological electrical stimulation. Without adequate electrolytes, you may experience fatigue at best or a heart attack at worst. In extreme electrolyte dilution (water intoxication,) death can occur.
|Sweating releases minerals from your body.|
According to the USDA, the average adult RDA for sodium is 1.5 grams which is roughly 1/3 tsp measure. This is recommendation shifts according to age and according to how much you sweat either from heat or from the amount of physical activity you engage in. When you sweat, you excrete minerals and electrolytes, hence the extra electrolytes in sports drinks. But here’s a tip, if you want to ditch all the extra sugar and artificial colors and flavors in sports drinks, add a pinch of salt to your drinking water, and eat foods rich in potassium and calcium.
Bottom line, don’t overindulge in sodium rich foods, but don’t shy away from salt altogether, it’s important for your body function. Balance is key.
Photo credits: Michel32nl; Minghong