In this age of processed food, it’s difficult to find people who aren’t getting enough sodium. Our snacks and pre-packaged foods are often drowning in sodium. However, certain medical and lifestyle-based factors can affect your sodium intake and absorption. Here are some situations where you may need to add more salt into your diet.
1. You’re An Athlete
If you do a lot of physical activity (and we’re talking marathon-level intensity) you’d be losing lots of water. It’s not enough to replenish this loss with water. Your electrolytes also need to be balanced out. You’ll often experience dizziness, fatigue, and low blood pressure if you have low sodium. If this is you, it doesn’t hurt to add an extra pinch to your regular diet every now and then.
2. You Sweat A Lot
If you live in extremely hot climates, it’s likely that you’ll be sweating quite a bit, especially if you work out in this weather. Again, you may experience symptoms of hyponatremia(deficiency of sodium). Try adding more salt to your diet to counter these effects.
You’re Older Than 70
Studies show that elderly adults who had a moderate amount of salt in their diet performed better at cognitive tasks than those who ate a low sodium diet.1 However, these are just preliminary studies so make sure to take into account other existing medical conditions and consult a doctor before going crazy with the salt shaker.
4. You Take Diuretics
5. You’re Experiencing Adrenal Dysfunction
Adrenals are the peanut-shaped glands near your kidneys. These glands secrete a very important hormone called aldosterone which balances the levels of potassium and sodium in the body. If these glands are not working properly, you’ll experience fatigue, dizziness and salt cravings.3 If you have these symptoms talk to your doctor and see if your adrenal glands are in working condition. He or she may recommend an extra pinch of salt in your diet.
You May Have A Medical Condition
If you suffer from salt-losing nephropathy, your kidneys expel abnormal amounts of sodium through urine. It is an inherent condition which means it may not always have a clear cause.4 Common symptoms include regular vomiting and dehydration. Get your kidney function tested if you regularly have these symptoms. People with this condition often need a higher daily intake of salt than others.
The Kind Of Salt You Should Be Eating
The most common salt we use, table salt, is much less beneficial than actual salt. It is chemically treated, bleached and doesn’t have any other trace minerals. Sea salt and other types of natural salt like Himalayan pink salt have other naturally occurring minerals which are essential for our bodies. Also, make sure that your source of salt is not from unhealthy processed foods. The transfats from these products may negate any health effects you get from the extra salt. Try adding more salt to normally bland things like brown rice, or steamed vegetables.
|↑1||Rush, Toni M., Donna Kritz-Silverstein, Gail A. Laughlin, Teresa T. Fung, E. Barrett-Connor, and Linda K. McEvoy. “Association between dietary sodium intake and cognitive function in older adults.” The journal of nutrition, health & aging 21, no. 3 (2017): 276-283.|
|↑2||Hwang, Kyu Sig, and Gheun-Ho Kim. “Thiazide-induced hyponatremia.” Electrolytes & Blood Pressure 8, no. 1 (2010): 51-57.|
|↑3||Adrenal Insufficiency & Addison’s Disease. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases|
|↑4||Uribarri, Jaime, Man S. Oh, and Hugh J. Carroll. “Salt-losing nephropathy.” American journal of nephrology 3, no. 4 (1983): 193-198.|