What is Salt? Salt is actually known as sodium chloride (NaCl). It contains 60% of chloride and 40% of sodium. It is the main dietary source of sodium and an essential nutrient that our body cannot produce by itself. Most of the time salt will be included in most of our meal. From the main course to side dishes and also snacks. Yes! Even the potato chips you’re holding on it.
I’m sure you would have the impression that salt is bad for our body. However, low salt intake can be dangerous to our body too. Therefore, it is important to have moderation of salt intake in our diet.
Why does our body need Salt?
Retain Water in the Body
Our body needs to rely on a proper amount of electrolytes and salt to help us carry out the electrical impulses that control many of our bodies’ functions. Whereby electrolytes trigger thirst mechanism and cause us to consume more water. With this water, our kidneys are able to store the electrolytes in the bloodstream. Besides, the amount of water retained in the body will also impact blood pressure. Which is why lots of restaurants and bars offer complimentary salty snacks. So that you will become thirsty and purchase more drinks!
Stimulates the Muscle Contraction
Salt is important to the nerves as it helps stimulate muscle contraction. Whereby it can prevent your muscles from cramping too! Furthermore, salt also takes part in stimulates the adrenal glands. It also helps to keep the calcium and other minerals in the bloodstream. Salt also plays an important role in the prevention of sunstroke and heat prostration especially Malaysia has hot weather.
Contains Nutrients Vital to the Body Digestive System
Salt actually plays a fundamental role in the process of digestion and absorption. It aids in activates an enzyme in our mouth – Salivary Amylase. Then, the salt allows your taste buds to taste the food. Other than that, salt also acts as a role in the digestion by helping to break down the food. It also creates hydrochloric acid whereby a very important digestive secretion that lines on the stomach walls. Hence, it helps your body digest food rather than trying to eat itself.
Symptoms of Salt Deficiency
- Dehydration (especially athletes)
- Higher risk of heart disease
- Muscle cramps
- Weakness, lethargy & confusion
- Cognitive decline in elderly
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