6 Situations Where You Need To Add More Salt To Your Diet

Some conditions and lifestyles require more salt.

In this age of processed food, it’s difficult to find people who aren’t getting enough sodium. Our snacks and pre-packaged foods are often drowning in sodium. However, certain medical and lifestyle-based factors can affect your sodium intake and absorption. Here are some situations where you may need to add more salt into your diet.

1. You’re An Athlete

You may lose water and electrolytes when you run.

If you do a lot of physical activity (and we’re talking marathon-level intensity) you’d be losing lots of water. It’s not enough to replenish this loss with water. Your electrolytes also need to be balanced out. You’ll often experience dizziness, fatigue, and low blood pressure if you have low sodium. If this is you, it doesn’t hurt to add an extra pinch to your regular diet every now and then.

2. You Sweat A Lot

Sweating makes you lose salts.

If

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you live in extremely hot climates, it’s likely that you’ll be sweating quite a bit, especially if you work out in this weather. Again, you may experience symptoms of hyponatremia(deficiency of sodium). Try adding more salt to your diet to counter these effects.

3. You’re Older Than 70

Sodium helps the brain function better.

Studies show that elderly adults who had a moderate amount of salt in their diet performed better at cognitive tasks than those who ate a low sodium diet.1 However, these are just preliminary studies so make sure to take into account other existing medical conditions and consult a doctor before going crazy with the salt shaker.

4. You Take Diuretics

These medications may lower sodium levels.

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Diuretics are medications prescribed for people with heart problems or high blood pressure. These meds tend to increase your urine output and can result in mineral imbalances. Even though most people taking diuretics are asked to limit salt intake, low sodium levels are a common side effect of these medications.2 Again, talk to your doctor and monitor your sodium levels before going ahead.

5. You’re Experiencing Adrenal Dysfunction

These glands are responsible for mineral balancing.

Adrenals are the peanut-shaped glands near your kidneys. These glands secrete a very important hormone called aldosterone which balances the levels of potassium and sodium in the body. If these glands are not working properly, you’ll experience fatigue, dizziness and salt cravings.3 If you

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have these symptoms talk to your doctor and see if your adrenal glands are in working condition. He or she may recommend an extra pinch of salt in your diet.

6. You May Have A Medical Condition

Kidney dysfunction can cause low sodium levels.

If you suffer from salt-losing nephropathy, your kidneys expel abnormal amounts of sodium through urine. It is an inherent condition which means it may not always have a clear cause.4 Common symptoms include regular vomiting and dehydration. Get your kidney function tested if you regularly have these symptoms. People with this condition often need a higher daily intake of salt than others.

The Kind Of Salt You Should Be Eating

Stick to natural salts on healthy foods.

The most common salt we use, table

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salt, is much less beneficial than actual salt. It is chemically treated, bleached and doesn’t have any other trace minerals. Sea salt and other types of natural salt like Himalayan pink salt have other naturally occurring minerals which are essential for our bodies. Also, make sure that your source of salt is not from unhealthy processed foods. The transfats from these products may negate any health effects you get from the extra salt. Try adding more salt to normally bland things like brown rice, or steamed vegetables.

If you do fall into any of these categories, make sure to monitor your sodium intake and levels under the supervision of a physician. Too much salt is still a bad thing, so make sure that you really need the extra sodium before adding it to your food.

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