When it comes to health and fitness – the public is mostly focused on carbs, protein and fat. But there are other important elements of your daily diet that need to be managed for optimal health and fitness.
When considering salt intake in regards to balanced health and fitness – the public is mostly focused on the main food components of carbs, protein and fat. However, there are other important elements of your daily diet that need to be kept in check for long term health and wellness.
One of these elements, sodium (salt), should get more special attention. We’ll do that here in this snappy Q&A article:
QUESTION: “I always hear that eating foods with too much salt is not good for my health and fitness levels, but is it also possible to suffer from not getting enough salt in my daily diet?”
ANSWER: “Absolutely. For your body to function optimally, you need at least 500 milligrams of sodium/salt per day. It’s required by the body for transmitting nerve impulses, helping muscles (including the heart) contract properly and sustaining the body’s pH and fluid balance (both inside the cells and outside) at ideal levels.
However, considering you consume that much sodium from only a quarter teaspoon of salt, it’s not surprising that a low salt intake is definitely not an issue in the U.S. Knowing the guesstimated average salt intake for Americans is about 4 – 6 thousand milligrams daily – there is a higher prevalence of too much sodium intake.
Authorities currently recommend a limit zone of under two thousand four hundred (2400) milligrams a day to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Some experts think it should be even lower.
So, what might we do?
It appears that some people are more likely to be affected by sodium intake than others, and since we don’t know exactly who they are, keeping sodium in check, in general, is a good thing to do for your health and long term fitness.
An interesting note; There is new found interest in sodium’s negative effect on bone health, adding another reason to keep salt intake levels at reasonable amounts(especially in women).
But, too little sodium?
Let’s face it… that’s likely not an issue for any American.
Here’s what most fitness experts do. First and foremost – if we add salt to any of our dishes – it’s Sea Salt – not regular table salt.
Second – We generally buy foods that have no added salt or – they have lower levels added – and we are happily discovering healthy pre-packaged, minimally processed foods that use SeaSalt instead of regular table salt.
Third – and very important – because we are active people, our sodium intake has much less ill effect on us than it would a sedentary, couch potato type person. We perspire more and we lose salt from our bodies electrolyte profile – so we don’t give them an opportunity to build up in our systems.
So, if you are active, eat healthy, hydrate sensibly and exercise on a consistent basis – you should not have anything to worry about in terms of your sodium intake.
Special cases, such as family history (genetics) will have some influence on your sensitivity to salt intake. And, for women, your sensitivity to salt intake may vary throughout your cycle.
Author Joey Atlas