Salt Intake - How much do you need.
Posted on 18th June 2022 at 12:57
Salt has always been a controversial subject. How much should you eat? What happens if you eat too much? Is there such a thing as not enough? But sodium is an essential part of our diet and we should definitely be consuming at least some salt on a daily basis.
For our bodies to function correctly we need certain things. Fluid is essential for all bodily functions and is especially needed when we increase exercise levels. Without a constant supply of fluid, we become dehydrated and our body begins to shut down. On top of fluid, we also need electrolytes (Sodium, Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium, etc). Electrolytes play a vital role in our bodies function, they help to regulate the balance of fluids, as well as regulating blood pressure and muscle contraction. Many of our bodily functions require a small electrical charge and electrolytes provide that charge. When your body is low on electrolytes, it can impair bodily functions, cause fatigue, muscle cramps, tightness and immobility in muscles and joints.
Up until recently salt was added to food as a matter of course and we all had enough. But after a scare by the medical world and the media telling us salt causes heart attacks, we have cut out salt almost totally from our diet. But that was OK, because most processed foods contain salt as a preservative and so we were still getting enough salt. However, the current thinking on healthy food is to cut out processed foods and reduce salt. The result, a lack of sodium in our diets, leading to the above mentioned chronic health problems.
So how much salt should we eat? The NHS recommends 6g of salt per day for a healthy adult, that’s about a teaspoon full. A quick google search will show you the foods that contain salt, but how much exactly? Whilst it maybe easy to work out how much salt is in gravy granules, determining the salt content of a slice of ham is more problematic. If you are working out regularly but suffering, muscle cramps, fatigue, or lack of mobility in muscles and joints, lack of electrolytes could be the problem.
Of course, your first point of call for any health problem should be your GP for blood tests to rule out anything more serious. But when nothing shows up, then consider your electrolyte intake. Speaking with a nutritionist or sports therapist should help you to determine whether you need supplements. If in doubt, ask an expert. Read labels, check exactly what you are eating, and if you have decided on a low carb/keto route, remember electrolytes are even more important. A point to note on electrolyte drinks and energy drinks, whilst they often contain the electrolytes you need, they usually contain huge amounts of sugar. So be wary of the quick fix energy drink.
If you have any questions regarding electrolyte intake or salt levels in your diet speak to us or book yourself in for a Sports Massage consultation.
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