Long touted as “the bad guy” when it comes to heart health and blood pressure, salt is starting to fight back with a different story.
There is more to salt than the seasoning and preservative we tend to associate with it. There is absolutely a place for salt in your diet. It’s important to know that not all salt is created equal.
To truly optimize your health you need to prioritize your salt intake, consume the right types of salt, and understand the relationship it has with potassium. When it comes to nutrition that can optimize your health and performance, electrolytes are just one key to success. Adopting sound nutritional strategies will transform the way you feel but also the way you think and your mood.
The problem that arises with salt has less to do with salt and actually stems from processed foods. Processed foods are to be limited for two main reasons.
First, they are almost entirely void of potassium, which throws off the ratio of salt to potassium in the body.
Second, they contain 99% sodium chloride and anti-caking agents that often contain heavy metals which can do serious damage to your nervous system. Salt containing heavy metals can actually lead to dehydration. They are toxic in the body, so the body pulls water out of the cells to protect itself.
“At the end of the day, you can’t compete with Mother Nature. If you’ve got a great tomato, just a pinch of sea salt is all you need.” -Zac Posen
The solution to the problem is to eat the right types of salt. Himalayan salts, sea salts, and other high quality salt products contain lower levels of sodium chloride and instead have higher amounts of beneficial trace minerals. They are also unrefined, which eliminates the risk of heavy metals.
It may be a tough mental block for you to overcome when it comes to adding salt to your diet. Feel free to use a healthy variety of salt liberally, since evidence has shown no link between sea salt intake above dietary guidelines and adverse medical conditions.
Salt can improve athletic performance and energy levels through its hydrating effects. There are also tons of varieties that will absolutely revolutionize the taste of your food. The cells in our body maintain hydration through a sodium potassium pump. The body likes to maintain specific levels of each mineral in order to keep homeostasis. Along with salt, make sure you consume foods high in sodium like potatoes and bananas, especially if you are training hard or sweating a lot.
If you have questions about nutrition for your sport, you want to have more energy, or make a positive choice for your body then we would love to talk about your goals and share some resources that can help!