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Why do we need salt?
Salt or sodium, is an
electrolyte that your body needs. Electrolytes are minerals
that dissolve in water and can carry electrical charges. Pure water
does not conduct electricity, but water containing salt does.
The three major electrolytes are sodium,
potassium and chloride. Other body electrolytes are magnesium,
calcium, zinc, and many others in very small amounts (called trace
minerals). They are electrically charged so they can carry nutrients into
and out of your cells. They also carry messages along your nerves
and help control your heartbeat.
Since your body is made mostly of water, these minerals can be found
everywhere in your body. They are inside your cells, in the spaces
between your cells, in your blood, your lymph, and everywhere else.
Since they have an electrical charge they can move through you cell
membranes and thus carry other nutrients with them into the cells and
waste products and excess water out of the cells.
sodium are very closely linked. To keep your body healthy,
your cells need to have a lot of potassium inside and a lot of sodium
in the fluid outside. To keep the balance, potassium and
sodium constantly move back and forth through the cell
The correct balance
Cells need the correct balance of potassium and salt. The
ratio that your body maintains is about three parts potassium and one part
sodium. Thus, the problem of too much sodium (salt) cannot be
overstated. If the body becomes oversupplied with sodium,
the body excretes more sodium. If the kidneys cannot secrete it, it
causes the vascular system to constrict and then the body dilutes the extra
cellular sodium in the body by increasing the fluid volume in the
body. Thus, you get fluid retention.
solution is to increase the potassium intake and decrease the sodium.
Although some sodium is essential for survival, inadequate sodium intake
is a rare problem. We need less than 500 milligrams of sodium a day
to stay healthy. This is enough to accomplish all the vital
functions that sodium performs in the body - helping maintain normal fluid
levels, healthy muscle function, stomach & nerve function and proper
acidity (called pH) of the blood. As we said, excessive sodium
intake can cause fluid to be retained in the tissues, which can lead to
hypertension (high blood pressure) and can aggravate many medical
disorders, including congestive heart failure, certain forms of kidney
disease, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
If you have adrenal fatigue, you will actually crave salt and can benefit
from taking salt and limiting the amount of potassium. See Adrenal
Taking diuretics, however, may
lead to a salt deficiency. Symptoms of sodium deficiency can include
abdominal cramps, anorexia, confusion, dehydration, depression, dizziness,
fatigue, flatulence, hallucinations, headache, heart palpitations, and
impaired sense of taste, lethargy, low blood pressure, memory impairment,
muscular weakness, nausea and vomiting, poor coordination, recurrent
infections, seizures and weight loss. Excessive sodium intake
can result in edema (swelling of tissues), high blood pressure, potassium
deficiency, and liver and kidney disease.
When you sweat a lot, it is
sometimes thought that you need to take extra salt, however, most of us
get plenty of salt in our diet. When you are excessively sweating
due to exercise and hot weather, you are using a lot of
electrolytes. These can be replaced by Cell Salts.
Diarrhea or vomiting
can also cause you to quickly lose electrolytes (especially potassium)
with the fluid. You need to replace the fluids and electrolytes
A good way to do this is to make an 8 ounces glass of a mixture of apple,
orange and other fruit juices with half a teaspoon of honey and a pinch of
ordinary table salt. In another glass, combine 8 ounces of water and
a pinch of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Take a few sips from
one glass and then a few sips form the other until you've drunk them
both. The fruit juice contains the potassium you need, while
the salt and baking soda provide sodium. The sugar from the juice
and honey helps your absorb electrolytes.
Do we eat too much salt?
The average American consumes 15 lbs. of
salt per year - the weight of an average bowling ball. Most
authorities agree that salt should be limited and that it plays a role in
cases of hypertension. The sodium found in salt may also be
detrimental to your bones. Consuming more than 2500 mg of sodium per
day will increase your calcium excretion in your urine, leading to further
bone loss. One study found that cutting sodium intake in half was as
beneficial as getting an extra 891 mg of calcium per day.
But I crave
A craving for salty foods may be a symptom of adrenal
exhaustion, especially in people who live fast-paced, stressful
lives. If this is the case, it is recommended that eating food
high in vitamin C is helpful (citrus, pepper and broccoli) and potassium
(parsley, garlic, spinach and carrot). Salt cravings can also
be a symptom of adrenal
Salting your food
you taste your food and find it needs something - remember most food has
enough naturally occurring salt to make it palatable - try adding spices,
seasonings and herbs to your food in place of table salt. You
might also want to try potassium salt as opposed to the more common sodium
Salt in Processed Foods
It is not only the salting of
foods that increases your salt intake, but the amount of salt that is
present in processed foods. Take a look at the packaging of
the canned goods, frozen foods, ketchup, soy sauce, baked goods,
etc. Luncheon meats and snack foods are also high in sodium
content. Get a hold of the nutritional guides from your local fast
food restaurant. The salt content is extremely
high. Even sodium free or salt-free labels can have up
to 5 mg of salt per serving. The labels mean roughly as
Unsalted, no salt added, without added salt - No salt
has been added during processing, even though salt is normally added to
Reduced or less sodium - At least 25 percent less sodium per
serving than the food normally has.
Lightly salted - At least 50% less sodium per serving than the food
Light in sodium - At least 50% less sodium per serving than the
food normal has.
Low sodium - 140 mg or less per serving.
Very low sodium - 35 mg or less per serving.
Sodium free or salt-free - Less than 5 mg per
As we said earlier, the proper balance of potassium and sodium
is necessary for good health.
One solution if you eat
processed foods is to also eat foods high in potassium, which can
offset the sodium overload. Potassium supplements are also an
Remember, you have to take in 3 times the amount of potassium to
the amount of salt (sodium) that you take. Remember that
when you see how much potassium is in the processed food you eat.
lots of green leafy vegetables and:
• Potassium is essential for maintaining proper fluid balance, nerve impulse function, muscle function, cardiac (heart muscle) function. Potassium sources:
• Potassium is found in bananas, raisins, apricots, oranges, avocados, dates, cantaloupe, watermelon, prunes, broccoli, spinach, carrots, potato, sweet potato, winter squash, mushrooms, peas, lentils, dried beans, peanuts, milk, yogurt, lean meats.
Many foods are naturally high in potassium. -
1 can (7 oz./ 200g) sockeye salmon - 1,391mg
1 medium California avocado - 1,097mg
1/2 package (5 oz./ 140g) spinach - 824mg
1 medium stalk broccoli - 526mg
1/3 cup natural sunflower seed kernels - 331mg
1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes - 290mg
1 Tbsp Dutch process unsweetened cocoa powder - 254mg
2 Tbsp peanut butter - 214mg
1/8 tsp potassium-salt substitute - 325 to 500mg
Dr. Berg’s Electrolytes has the most potassium of any electrolyte power mix!
Dr. Berg’s Electrolyte Powder is the perfect combination of electrically conducting minerals and trace minerals. Electrolytes when dissolved in water create charged elements ready to hydrate the body cells and energize the body. These active minerals assist in nerve conduction as well as muscle contraction and relaxation.
You can learn more about this supplement at Dr. Berg's Electolytes. This page includes 4 educational videos about electrolytes and their need for your health.
Electrolyes: Rehydrate & Rejuvenate! as well as Energize & Recharge Your Cells!
Learn more at Dr. Berg's Electrolytes
Warning! If you take a prescription diuretic, talk to your doctor
about potassium in your food or from supplements. Be sure to talk to
your doctor. People with kidney disease need to follow their
doctor's instructions which often means to avoid
sodium and potassium. Check with
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