How Much Salt Is Good For You

How Much Salt Is Good For You

salt and your body

Background:

Salt has played a big role throughout history. In medieval times, for example, salt was the unit of payment for solders. Hence, the expression around whether someone was “worth his salt” came upon payday. We learned in social studies that the quest for salt, both for flavoring and for its preservative qualities, was a significant impetus to the age of exploration.

What is salt and what why does it matter?

Salt is a combination of sodium and chloride (NaCL). The table salt we eat comes from either the sea or from rock salt mines. An essential mineral, it is one of the body’s key electrolytes (Calcium, Potassium, Chloride, Magnesium, Phosphate, and Bicarbonate). It contributes to keeping our body functions in balance by regulating our metabolic processes. It plays a key role in helping to maintain fluid balance and preventing dehydration.

The minimum recommended amount of salt per day is 2,300 mg or 1 teaspoon of table salt Getting this much is not a problem for most people. Athletes may require more based on activity; they can ensure they get enough to replace their electrolytes with sports drinks.

What is too much salt?

While salt plays a role in maintaining good health, too much salt presents a major health concern. Too much salt increases blood pressure that ultimately leads to heart disease and stroke. These two illnesses comprise the first and third highest causes of death in the United States. Practicing good habits around salt consumption is one of the nicest things you can do for yourself.

What are good salt/sodium habits?

The vast majority of salt that we consume comes from foods that we buy in the grocery store or eat at/from restaurants, not from what we intentionally add to our food. The following are important habits we can cultivate:

  • Consistently load up your plate with lots of fresh vegetables and fruits (frozen alternatives without sauces or added sodium are also good choices)
  • When shopping for food, check food labels for the amount of sodium, especially for bread, rolls, crackers, and snacks. There are wide variations and lower sodium choices can make a big difference.
  • Minimize consumption of high sodium food sources such as but not limited to cheese, canned soups, vegetables and sauces, cold cuts, prepared foods, and, of course, salty snacks.
  • Restaurant food is particularly rich, in both fat and salt. Consider the following ordering practices: choose lean meats and fish that have been poached or grilled, ask to have sauces and dressings served on the side, request steamed rather than sautéed vegetables, make sure to ask that salads be served without added cheese.

Summary:

When it comes to salt consumption, less is more. A teaspoon a day is easily consumed through a standard, healthy diet. Synergy Wellness and Weight Loss can answer any questions you may have about to much salt.