Sodium-rich foods in your diet to this day may still confuse people. Often it gets a bad rep because it’s associated with processed and fatty foods that are definitely bad for you. People tend to forget that sodium most commonly found in salt, not only makes the whole eating experience great because it provides taste. But it may also provide some benefits to the body especially to people following the keto diet.
So does salt deserve the bad rep it gets? Is there any good that comes from having sodium as a regular part of your diet? If so, how important is it to have for people on a low-carb and high-fat diet such as keto? Here’s what we found out.
What is it?
The word salt comes from the Latin word ‘sal’ meaning salt. It is either mined or made from sea water and has been renowned for its variety of uses. Aside from its usual place on the table or the kitchen, salt has also been used in medicine, for dyeing and bleaching purposes and soap production.
Sodium chloride is the main component of the mineral called salt. and it plays a few vital roles in the body. Not only does it help maintain fluid levels throughout the body but it also helps with muscle contractions and is essential in nerve health.
Depending on where you get it and how they are processed, salt may also come with a variety of nutrients. Nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and potassium are commonly found in most varieties of table salt.
The good and bad
As with any type of food, salt, when taken in moderation, may benefit your body. But taking too little or too much salt may cause deficiencies, which may develop or worsen diseases.
The right amount of salt in your diet can benefit your body by helping it regulate fluid levels in the urinary system. This includes fluids in the cardiovascular and digestive systems as well. When the regulation of fluid levels in the blood is effective, your body is able to maintain normal blood pressure or lower it. Plus, it also helps the nerves communicate effectively.
What happens if you have too little sodium in your diet?
Again, one of sodium’s major roles in the body is maintaining fluid levels in the body. Having too little salt may then cause you body to produce excess liquid. When this happens, you may need diuretics to help control fluid retention.
Too little sodium in the body may also result to a condition called hyponatremia. This can lead to symptoms such as muscle cramps, dizziness, fatigue, and restlessness. In worse cases, it can lead to seizures and even coma.
Aside from that, having too little sodium on the body may result to:
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Thyroid problems
- Digestive problems
- Heart diseases
- Addison disease
But what happens when there is too much salt?
Having too much salt in your diet isn’t too good for the body either. In fact, it may heighten risks of cardiovascular disease. And with that comes a host of other conditions.
Too much salt can also result in a huge decrease in calcium in the body. Having an increased blood pressure purges essential minerals in the body particularly calcium. To make up for the loss, it takes calcium from your bones which could then increase the risk of osteoporosis.
Your digestive tract could also suffer from having too much salt since it disturbs the natural balance in your gut’s bacteria. This may cause severe damages to your digestive lining and membrane, which could then increase the risk of having stomach cancer.
So, keep all these in mind when you’re thinking about your diet plan, especially if you’re following a low-carb diet like the ketogenic diet.
Salt and keto diet
We can’t stress how important salt is to your diet especially when you’re on your first week on keto. Since limiting carbohydrates in your body actually lowers your insulin levels, your body naturally rids itself of fluids and sodium, which could result in dehydration and sodium deficiency. This, in turn, causes symptoms of the keto flu such as headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and all sorts of unpleasantness.
So, make sure you watch your sodium intake in your first few weeks of keto. It is recommended that you up your sodium intake in order to avoid or relieve symptoms of the keto flu.
But the question is, how much do you need? The recommended daily amount of sodium you have to take is about 3000-5000 mg, around 1-2 tablespoons evenly spread out throughout every meal. Keep that in mind and you’ll definitely feel the benefits of salt while you’re on your keto diet.
Having salt in your diet might seem like a poor choice for some, however, salt is actually important in performing vital functions in our body. Just be sure to take it in moderation and your good to go.