9 Salt Benefits You May Not Know About
Salt is an irreplaceable ingredient in the culinary world, cherished by professional chefs and home cooks alike. Beyond its reputation as a flavor enhancer, salt’s significance extends far beyond the realm of taste. In fact, contrary to popular beliefs, salt can actually provide a myriad of health benefits! Being salt producers, we may be biased, but the benefits of salt are backed by science. Salt, in its natural form as sodium chloride, is a fundamental mineral required by the human body for optimal physiological (and even psychological!) function. Here are 9 benefits of salt you may not know about:
Salt Helps Maintain Electrolyte Balance
Maintaining proper electrolyte balance is essential to all bodily functions. Salt contains several essential electrolytes, including sodium and chloride. Without proper electrolyte balance, your body will struggle to maintain proper muscle function, nerve function, and fluid balance. This is especially true for active individuals as these electrolytes are depleted when sweating. This is why electrolyte drinks are so popular in the athletic world!
Salt Plays an Important Role in Blood Pressure Regulation
While it is true that an excess consumption of salt can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension), salt is still important to maintain healthy blood pressure. Those that suffer from low blood pressure (hypotension) can actually benefit from increasing salt intake as salt leads to more water in the intravascular system. A consistently healthy intake of salt can help keep your blood pressure right where it needs to be!
Muscle Function Would Be Impossible Without Salt
Salt plays a crucial role in facilitating the proper function of your muscles by maintaining the balance of electrolytes within your muscle cells. Muscle contraction and relaxation depend on the movement of sodium and potassium ions in and out of cells. Salt helps regulate this process! Without sufficient sodium in your body, muscle cramps and spasms can occur, impairing your physical performance and causing discomfort! Fun fact: this is why when you get muscle cramps people say to eat a banana! Bananas contain the essential electrolyte potassium. However, salt can be beneficial in this scenario, as well!
Salt is a Necessity for Hydration
Salt’s role in hydration is essential as it helps your cells retain water. When you consume salt, it maintains the osmotic balance in your body. This balance is crucial for keeping the right amount of water inside and outside your cells. Without this balance, your cells might lose too much water or retain too much, leading to issues like dehydration or bloating. Salt helps regulate the water distribution in your body, preventing excessive loss through urine, sweat, and other bodily fluids. This, in turn, supports overall hydration and helps you stay properly hydrated, especially in hot or physically demanding conditions.
Salt is Important for Nervous System Function
The nervous system relies on the presence of salt for functioning. Sodium ions play a vital role in transmitting electrical signals between nerve cells. These signals are essential for various functions, including muscle movement, sensory perception, and cognitive processes. Without an adequate supply of sodium, nerve signals can become disrupted, leading to issues such as impaired muscle coordination, numbness, tingling, or even more severe neurological problems. Salt helps ensure the smooth transmission of these signals, supporting optimal nervous system function and overall neurological health.
Salt Aids in Digestion
Salt aids in the digestive process by promoting the production of stomach acid, which is necessary for breaking down food and absorbing essential nutrients. Proper digestion is key to maintaining overall health and preventing digestive disorders. Additionally, as previously discussed, salt is important for maintaining proper hydration, which is essential for maintaining good digestive functions.
Salt Provides Immune System Support
Salt can support your immune system in various ways. It helps maintain the balance of fluids in your body, which is crucial for the immune response. Think about how hard it is to fight a cold or the flu when you’re dehydrated! Additionally, salt can act as an antimicrobial agent, helping to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and pathogens.
Salt Can Provide Skin Benefits
Salt has been used for centuries in skincare routines due to its exfoliating and cleansing properties. It is naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial, so it helps rid your skin of harmful, acne-causing bacterias. Salt can help remove dead skin cells, unclog pores, and improve the overall texture and appearance of your skin. Bathing in saltwater, such as in the ocean or with Epsom salts, can also provide relief for various skin conditions and promote healing. Our natural by-product Nigari is often used in cosmetics such as body butters because of its mineral richness and potential skin benefits!
Salt Can Reduce Stress
Salt may have a calming effect on the body by helping to reduce stress and anxiety. Salt can assist in maintaining stable blood pressure, which can, in turn, help manage stress levels. Additionally, salt baths and spa treatments are known for their relaxation benefits! Plus, being properly hydrated is a great step in mental health maintenance.
Conclusion on the Health Benefits of Salt
While salt offers numerous benefits, it is important to remember moderation is key. Excessive salt consumption can lead to health issues, particularly if you have certain medical conditions. Always consult with your doctor or healthcare professional to ensure you strike the right balance with your salt intake. Recommended salt intake levels can be very personal!
The quality of the salt you consume can also make a difference! High-quality salt, often derived from pristine sources and minimally processed, comes without the addition of unnecessary additives and contaminants like heavy metals. High quality, naturally derived salts such as ours contain various minerals, including calcium (3%), magnesium (1%), and potassium (1%). These pure salts are the result of natural evaporation or traditional harvesting methods, ensuring a product that is clean for you and for the environment.
By understanding the potential benefits and being mindful of your salt intake, you can fully appreciate this magical seasoning as both a culinary delight and a mineral essential for health.