Salt often gets a bad rep in the nutrition world. While it’s true that excess sodium in your diet can lead to kidney stones, high blood pressure, ++ cardiovascular disease, your body needs salt to function properly. Especially if you’re an active CHAARGie, salt is crucial to replenish what you lose during your sweat sesh + keep your body at its best. Consider that the next time you find yourself reaching for salty snacks or sports drinks after a tough cardio sesh, you’re body is probably in need of some salt —
WHY YOUR BODY NEEDS SALT
Salt is needed to regulate the balance of fluids in your body, while also helping to control the functions of your cardiovascular + nervous systems. Excessive sodium in the diet can lead to many health problems, but not having enough sodium in your diet can do the same. Sodium deficiencies can lead to nausea, headaches, lethargy, dizziness, ++ confusion. It can also cause a loss of appetite, muscle weakness, ++ cramps.
It’s no secret that water is key before, during, ++ after a sweat sesh. As much as we love a good outdoor summer workout [hey Bootycamp!], hotter workout environments lead to more sweat, which leads to dehydration if you don’t replace what you lost. Like eating post-workout to replenish calories, salty foods + water are necessary, too, to prevent dehydration + balance the fluids in your body.
HEALTHY WAYS TO INCORPORATE SALT IN YOUR DIET
Fast food + french fries aren’t the best or only options to consume the sodium your body needs. Sea salt makes a great addition to dishes — especially to roasted veggies + meats [calling all you meal prep masters ; )]. Not only is it delicious, but it provides your body with a lot of healthy minerals, as opposed to the processed table salt found at most restaurants + in packaged ++ processed foods.
You don’t need to fear foods with salt, since your body requires sodium to function. Face salty foods with the same confidence you’d bring in to the weight room. ; ) However, buying foods without added sodium + adding salt to your own foods [so you can control the amount] is a lot better for your health! Lots of foods found at the grocery store, like canned beans + broths, have unnecessary salt in them, so opt for brands that sell foods with little to no added salt. By using a smaller amount of sodium in your meals, you can get the benefits + yummy taste of salt, ++ the natural flavors of your food can still shine without being overpowered.
Contrary to dietary recommendations, the daily sodium requirement isn’t a fixed amount. Your personal diet + activity level determine how much salt you need in a day, ++ the number is often not the same for everyone. Simply add a bit to foods if + when it’ll taste good, ++ eliminate processed foods as much as possible to keep your sodium intake at a healthy level.
Like with everything else in your fit lifestyle — whether it be your exercise routine or what you eat — balance is key. French fries are good [okay, great], but so are sea salt roasted potatoes or even potatoes roasted plain. Despite what some diets may claim, salt isn’t the enemy. Your body needs sodium to function. Incorporating salt into your diet in healthy ways will fuel your workouts + help you feel your best everyday. : )
++Ashleigh Monaco [ashvm_inchaarg] // University of Iowa