You read that title right. How many times over the years have you heard that salt causes harmful things to our bodies? This is not necessarily false as if you do it to excess, like anything else, it can be harmful but we also have to remember that salt helps form electrolytes.
Over the past few weeks it has been quite hot and humid in NYC and I have implemented my two-a-day routine. I walk in the morning and do some second form of exercise in the evening and then also hit an infrared sauna on the weekend. All of these induce sweat, causing us to need to drink more water for hydration but we also need electrolytes to help our body form ATP (Adenosine Triphospate), which supplies our body with its necessary energy and keeps everything going. ATP is easily depleted but not easily formed so we quickly run out and, yes you guessed it, salt helps in that formation because salt is a natural electrolyte.
I hadn’t put two and two together that my sweating was causing me to be tired or extra muscle soreness even though my workouts haven’t really changed. It finally hit me when two to three podcasts I listen two all had episodes regarding the need for salt in your diet when you workout because of the loss of salt during the sweating process. When I started to think about the foods I eat, mostly natural and made by me so not really any salts added, I realized I was missing the electrolytes needed to help save my body from shutting down.
Further research shows that salt actually can put the body into a semi-starvation mode, lead to insulin resistance (something I already struggle with), and cause your body to absorb more bad nutrients than it should in hopes of replacing and replenishing. Salt helps with nerves and digestion and even blood pressure as I learned from biochemistry this summer.
So now you are probably wondering what is right and what is wrong? Drs are telling you you shouldn’t eat salty foods and now I’m saying you need it. Its MODERATION. Look at the daily recommended sodium intake and if you are sweating excessively, you probably need more. Also, look at the foods you are eating – is there salt in them? There really wasn’t in mine unless it was naturally occurring.
What can you do to amend or get back on track to make your body balanced? Add salt! I am kidding…well not really. I started adding just a sprinkle of table salt (we need the iodine) to things where I can’t taste it and only upped my intake to less than a teaspoon per day. Also, find a good natural electrolyte drink – think no sugar added because those are still the devil.
Don’t go overboard with this concept but I definitely think it is something we need to learn about and understand. We need natural electrolytes in this hot weather, especially if you are being active or working outdoors. Table salt is the easiest thing to incorporate without having to spend lots of money or time learning about it because we typically all have some. If you do go overboard, you will know because you will start to bloat as well – so be aware. Small supplements go a long way.
Stay safe and hydrated!