Salt can get a bad rap. Following the “low sodium” craze, many consumers are suspicious of adding salt to their dishes. But now, more people are warming up to the idea of sprinkling a little more onto their food. Indeed, Mindbodygreen explains, sodium is an important part of countless functions in the body, ranging from hydration to nutrient absorption. Former biochemist, Robb Wolf tells the outlet, “It’s far more dangerous to be too low [in] sodium than too high.”
Since sodium and potassium work in tandem with one another, avoiding salt can have some seriously negative side effects. For instance, without enough sodium, the body begins to excrete potassium to balance things out — making you deficient in both nutrients. On the other hand, having too much sodium and not enough potassium may spike your blood pressure.
Potassium levels are really important. Too much leaves you at risk for heart failure, while too little can lead to arrhythmia, high blood sugar and muscle weakness, the outlet reports. The reason that salt has gotten such a bad reputation in recent years is because of processed foods that use it as a preservative to extend their shelf life. In reality, pure salt proves integral in countless biological functions.
Choose a high-quality sea salt to add to your meals
To keep this delicate relationship in balance, there’s an ideal amount of sodium to ingest on a daily basis. Mindbodygreen reports that, currently, most Americans are getting 2.3 grams per day while they should actually have 5 grams on a daily basis. Wolf explains, “[When] people eat 5 grams of sodium per day, and sometimes even significantly higher, blood sugar normalizes further, their sleep improves, [and] appetite is much improved.”
But, instead of loading up on processed foods, adding high quality sea salt to your cooking can be the difference. Healthline explains that low sodium intake may increase LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, increasing the risk of heart disease and heart failure. Furthermore, it may increase insulin resistance which is important for those with diabetes. While this isn’t enough of a reason to eat salt by the spoonful, it’s clear that being more generous with your salt has its advantages. In fact, having too much may be even less dangerous than having too little.
“If you over-consume sodium, it’ll take your kidneys 15 or 20 minutes to sort that out, and you will excrete the excess sodium. If you are too low of sodium, though, and let’s say you add in even more potassium, it can be fatal,” Wolf explains.
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