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Salt is an important ingredient that the human body requires to keep the fluid balance under control and to ensure the working of nerves and muscles. Also, sodium chloride (known as common salt otherwise) is necessary to give every dish the utmost tasteful effect. The compound contains 40 per cent sodium and 60 per cent chloride by weight. In addition to sodium, common salt also contains potassium, iron, zinc and calcium.
Experts say that you should consume not more than 6 g of salt per day. Maintaining the proper salt and water ratio is necessary for an efficient metabolism of the body. Read on to know some of the top health benefits of common salt.
Health Benefits Of Common Salt
• Helps in diabetes management
A fit body requires healthy levels of insulin. The body's sensitivity towards insulin turns weak in case a diet that is low in salt is consumed on a daily basis. This would lead to a reduction in the body's ability to metabolize glucose causing type 2 diabetes. Therefore, for people who have a family history of type 2 diabetes, consumption of salt in moderate amounts on a daily basis is essential.
• Promotes oral health
Doctors advise the use of salt water rinses as a natural home remedy for the treatment of ulcers in the gums that might be caused due to bacterial infections such as trench mouth. Using salt water to rinse the gums would provide an instant soothing effect. The rinse should ideally be prepared by mixing about half teaspoon of salt with one cup of mild warm water.
It soothes sore gums and reduces swelling. You can also use salt to form an oral hygiene measure that can be a part of your daily oral care routine. Mix about half teaspoon of salt and baking soda with water and use this mixture to clean your teeth. This mixture is highly effective in whitening the teeth and keeping the gums healthy.
• Combats iodine deficiency
One of the most common sources of iodine is iodized salt. The body requires iodine so the thyroid hormone can be produced. Going by what medical science has proven, the human body does not naturally produce iodine, thus making the intake of iodine through salt all the more important. If there is not enough iodine provided to the body, then the thyroid would enlarge to keep up the body's demand for the thyroid hormone and in turn result in conditions such as hypothyroidism.
• Boosts cardiovascular health
Studies done over years have proven that common salt plays an important role in determining the blood pressure levels of the body. This in turn has an impact on cardiovascular health which is ultimately related to heart attacks and strokes. Low blood pressure can be treated by consuming more salt as this boosts the volume of blood that flows in the arteries, thus raising the blood pressure.
• Prevents muscle cramps
Muscle cramps are a common occurrence and could occur as a result of exercising, medications or alcoholism. Instant relief can be achieved with the intake of fluids that contain a good amount of salt. Proper functioning of the muscles is subjected to the availability of a mineral - potassium. Sea salt is known to contain ample amounts of this mineral. Sea salt also facilitates the proper absorption of potassium from other foods consumed as well. Salt consumption, therefore, keeps muscle spasms and cramps at bay.
• Promotes sleep
Saliva flowing out of the mouth when one sleeps indicates a shortage of salt in the body. Deficiency of salt indicates shortage of water. Therefore, salivary glands produce more saliva to combat this shortage. It is, therefore, advised medically that one drinks fluid containing salt just before bedtime. This can prevent the production of excess saliva.
Sea salt has also been associated with curing depression, according to research studies. Scientists have proven that sea salt can lead to the secretion of hormones such as serotonin and melatonin. These hormones are known to facilitate dealing with stress. Hence, enabling you to relax and sleep well at night.
• Ensures hydration
Research shows that intake of salt ensures that the hydration levels are maintained in the human body. The electrolyte balance needs to be maintained so that there is smooth functioning of the various organs. People who do strenuous physical activity resulting in extreme sweating should make it a point to recover both the water and salt shortages caused due to excessive perspiration.
• Maintains electrolyte balance
The blood electrolytes, that are sodium, chloride, potassium and bicarbonate, help in functioning of the nerves and muscles. These also help in maintaining the water balance and the acid-base balance in the body. Research has shown that after a period of excessive sweating, consuming food with extra added salt can be beneficial for maintaining the electrolyte balance. This is because salt would help in retaining fluid in the body and thus keeping us hydrated. It has been observed through studies that sweat leads to a high loss of sodium and chloride.
• Supports digestion
Salt plays a major role in aiding the digestive functionality of the body. Apart from salt allowing your taste buds to taste the food that you eat, salt also helps in breaking down the food. Salt is responsible for the creation of hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid is an important digestive secretion. This is what lines the stomach walls and aids in the process of digestion.
• Prevents heat stroke
When the body's heat-regulating system falls short, sun stroke can occur. Overheating in the surrounding environment or being exposed under the hot sun for a long time can cause heat stroke. When heat stroke occurs, the body falls short of being able to release heat properly and thus is unable to maintain a normal temperature. This causes the body temperature to become very high.
Heat stroke can be quite dangerous to the internal organs. To prevent this from occurring the body begins to cool itself by producing sweat, which leads to lose of excess water and salt from the body.
Consuming lots of water and adequate amounts of salt can help in maintaining the electrolyte balance and thus prevent heat stroke. Also, a person who has just suffered heat stroke can also be given immediate relief by offering fluids that contain sugar and salt.