If you eat too much salt, the extra water stored in your body raises your blood pressure. So, the more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure. The higher your blood pressure, the greater the strain on your heart, arteries, kidneys and brain. This can lead to heart attacks, strokes, dementia and kidney disease. ~Blood Pressure UK
Hmmmm…Salt is bad eh?
Did you know that 80% of the salt you eat every day is “hidden” in the processed foods you eat? ~also Blood Pressure UK
Ahhh there we go.
Hiya Friends! Okay today I wanted to touch on yet another controversial topic in nutrition, which is …
So we have all grown up hearing how bad salt is for you and how it basically will cause heart attacks. Is that actually true though?
Think for a second…Salt is natural. Our ancestors ate salt and I’m pretty sure they didn’t die from consuming it. I always think about these types of things in this way:
If it comes from nature, it’s probably A-okay. The bigger problem is how we choose to use it these days that makes it a ‘health risk.’
Yes, salt, or sodium chloride to be more specific, causes the body to hold onto water, but that actually is an important function (and not it’s only function) for a number of reasons.
~Muscles need it to be able to contract, including our heart.
~Nerves need it to send signals
~Blood volume levels are maintained with the help of salt
~Chloride is integral for digestion as it forms HCL (or your stomach acid)
~Chloride also help keeps acid balance in the body
And many more functions.
So why are we always told to limit it?
Well you see if we didn’t have packaged foods and we simply sprinkled salt on our foods, salt would never be a problem because our taste buds just can’t handle an excess of straight salt poured on our foods. The issue is the fact that, like said above, most of the sodium that we take in is hidden and almost tasteless in processed foods. The simplest of boxed items are filled with the stuff and so then as the amount of sodium creeps up and then yes, you may start to overload and may see negative consequences.
There is no such thing as ‘you can’t have too much’ even in beneficial things. So while salt is essential for you, when you start going way too high, it has negative consequences in the body.
Our bodies are not used to dealing with all this processed crap we force it to break down. So we can’t just pee it out and say its all good.
So this is controversial yes, but really it’s just another simple case of how humans have taken something natural, processed the crap out of it and now its black listed.
It’s not evil. Case closed.
Also, I felt the need to touch on this because of it’s importance in athletes. You see, many athletes don’t tend to eat much of the processed stuff because they have learned that they feel better and perform better on whole foods. This is a good and a bad thing. Good because they are eating more wholesome foods and getting more vitamins and minerals BUT bad because often they forget about salt. If you neglect salt in your diet, you can actually potentially harm yourself.
Take a track athlete for example. During a hot day, they are running their event and sweating like crazy. Well in that sweat is salt…
Following their event, they run to grab the first bottle of water they can find and down a good amount of it. After a few minutes, they start to feel a lil dizzy and out of it and next thing they know they are on the ground and have their coach leaning over them with a fan in one hand and a Gatorade in another.
They just experienced hyponatremia, or abnormally low serum salinity. They drank water to rehydrate, but diluted their blood saline because they didn’t replace the electrolytes they lost. Too little sodium in the blood then can lead to dizziness, nausea, or even worse neurological and/or muscle complications. Read more about exercised-associated hypernatremia here.
So yes, salt is essential. You need it. As a result, stop seeing salt as evil. If you are thinking that you need to cut back, starting taking a look at those boxed products and not at the pure stuff. More importantly, if you don’t eat much processed food, don’t forget that you need salt in your food somewhere. I made that mistake and used to feel light headed during my training.
So to conclude, a good quality sea salt (try pink salt!) has great benefits, so go ahead and sprinkle away to your taste. Instead of giving it the stank face, give that boxed food the cold shoulder.
PS a good crack or three of pink salt on peanut butter oatmeal is kinda the **it.
Try it out!
Did you ever fear salt?