Over the years, you have probably heard just as many contradictions about the importance of salt in your “diet” (nutrition program) as I have. Everybody has an opinion about the importance of salt. I have been told that I need to consume salt and on the flip side, others have told me that I must avoid using salt at all costs, as there is enough in the foods that I eat. Allow us to try to add some clarification to this confusion for you, with facts based upon science, not just opinion.
Our bodies need salt to function at its optimal levels and is often referred to as an essential mineral of life. Every cell within our bodies requires an appropriate level of salt to survive. The proper amount of salt consumption will vary from person to person and is based on your overall health and fitness levels.
Four types of salt that are most common we will find:
- Table Salt
- Sea Salt
- Celtic Sea Salt
- Himalayan Pink Rock Salt
What many of us likely came to know of salt, is the Iodized table salt found on most dinner tables in homes and restaurants. Table salt is what gave salt its negative reputation when it comes to our health and nutrition. While the other salts listed above are natural forms of salt, table salt is heavily processed and consists of mostly sodium chloride. Persons that find their salt intake is too high, commonly results from too much consumption of table salt and/or high amounts of processed foods.
The first question we are most often asked, once we discuss the importance of salt in our clients’ nutrition recommendations, is “what kind of salt is the best for me to use?” To answer this question, we recommend choosing a natural sea salt or Pink Himalayan salt. Salt is one of the electrolytes our bodies rely upon, to keep the appropriate level of water within our bodies. This water retention allows proper kidney function, to keep the necessary electrolytes flowing through our bloodstream. Pink Himalayan and Celtic Sea salt also contain potassium, which helps regulate the amount of sodium that flows through our bodies. Due to the higher number of electrolytes, natural salts are often found to benefit sleep patterns, as they help to balance the bodies hormone levels.
Pink Himalayan salt has grown rapidly in popularity over the years. While it does have some minerals and essential trace elements, due to the fact it is compressed for millennia before it is mined, our bodies are not able to make use of all these minerals and elements.
Celtic Sea Salt is a grey sea salt that is unrefined and not processed. It is sourced from waters off the coast of the Guérande Region of Brittany, France. Celtic salt has higher magnesium and lower sodium levels compared to Pink Himalayan salt. It also has the highest amount of minerals and essential trace elements, which allows our bodies to digest it immediately and make use of these minerals.
Not only does salt help food taste better, but it also activates the enzyme salivary amylase in the mouth, to help our taste buds to taste the food we eat properly. For those of us that exercise in the gym, our muscles need salt for proper contraction and to help prevent cramps.
One final note to mention on this subject is researchers found children that tend to consume processed food with high levels of processed salt, tend to pair this with a high sugar beverage. This type of habit can have a direct link to obesity.
Tell us what you think about the importance of salt, or if you have any questions, you can contact us at TheFitLife247@gmail.com