Salt is an essential nutrient for human beings. We not only need the sodium, which is necessary for maintaining proper blood pressure, but also the chloride, which our body uses to make hydrochloric acid in our stomachs so that we can digest our food.
Salt is composed of two minerals: sodium and chloride (it also contains small amounts of calcium and phosphates). Table salt, for example, contains about 40% sodium and 60% chloride.
There are several vital reasons the human body needs salt to function properly, listed below are a few of them:
- Fluid balance– sodium (found in salt) is an electrolyte that helps regulate the amount of water and the electrical activity in our cells. That’s why having too much salt can cause fluid retention and increase blood pressure.
- Energy regulation– sodium and potassium aid the movement of glucose in and out of cells, giving us energy.
- Nerve function– when a nerve cell fires off a signal, sodium enables the signal to reach its intended destination rapidly.
- Digestion– consuming salt activates an enzyme in your mouth that helps break down food. It’s also critical for the production of acid in the stomach that helps us to digest our food.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day for an average adult. Processed foods contains large amounts of sodium, hence it is a good practice to always check the label before consuming such items.
Our bodies need a little bit of salt to survive, but the amount we eat is far more than we require. If you eat too much salt your blood pressure will get too high, and this condition over time can cause serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, etc.
We already know that excess of anything is bad for your body. So if you keep your intake within the recommended dosage, salt will do you more good than harm.