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The Importance of Salt in Your Diet

If you are under the impression that salt is just another way to decrease your health and add to your waistline, then you should know there are benefits to adding a little salt to your diet. Salt plays a role in water retention, muscle contraction, and contains nutrients that are vital to your stomach. Salt in moderation is actually very important to your diet. Check out why:

Salt Helps Retain Water in the Body

Our bodies rely on electrolytes, including salt, to help carry out electrical impulses that control many of our bodies’ functions. To keep our bodies functioning as they should, our bodies need the proper amount of electrolytes. Electrolytes trigger thirst mechanism, which cause us to consume adequate amounts of water. With this water, our kidneys are able to keep the appropriate amount of electrolytes in our bloodstream. The amount of water our bodies retain also impact blood pressure. Think about it: a lot of bars and restaurants provide complimentary salty snacks. Why? They make you thirsty and wanting to purchase more drinks!

Salt Stimulates Muscle Contraction

Salt is important to the nerves, as it stimulates muscle contraction; this will also help prevent your muscles from cramping. Salt also keeps calcium and other minerals in the bloodstream. It also stimulates the adrenal glands. Salt is also very important in the prevention of heat prostration and sunstroke, which is very important to remember during hot summer months.

Salt Contains Nutrients Vital to the Digestive System

Salt plays a primary role in the processes of digestion and absorption. Salt activates an enzyme in the mouth called salivary amylase. At this point, the salt allows your taste buds to taste the food. Salt also plays a role in digestion by helping to break down food. Salt also creates hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid is a very important digestive secretion, which lines the stomach walls. Salt actually helps your body digest food, rather than trying to eat itself.

A Lack of Salt Is Dangerous

A sodium deficiency is a health condition where a body fails to receive an adequate supply of sodium. Sodium deficiency can become extremely prevalent in excessive temperatures, which cause the body to perspire heavily and patterns of dehydration will set in. Sodium deficiency can lead to shock if the blood pressure is decreased too severely. Salt is important to good nutritional status. Too little can cause disturbances in tissue-water and acid-base balance, which is important to good nutrition.

Remember, diets too high in sodium can lead to high water retention and hypertension. Overall, salt is generally nontoxic to adults, provided it is excreted properly. The maximum amount of sodium that should be incorporated into a healthy diet should range from 2,400-3,000 mg/day.

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