Regular table salt is the most commonplace condiment in the world. That’s not surprising as both sodium and chloride are necessary for life and salt is the most convenient source for these compounds.
As vital as it is, the human body needs only very little salt. The daily upper limit for adults is around 2,300 milligrams. For those aged 51 years and above, it should be just 1,500 mg. For children it’s even less with the limit set at 1,000 mg a day.
There are actually different kinds of edible salt. Regular table salt is the refined variety with more additives like iodine. This is usually sourced from mineral rock deposits. Unrefined or less refined types are kosher salt and sea salt which is made by evaporating seawater. While they may have varying degrees of additional mineral content, the basic composition of all these types is still sodium chloride and the recommended limits still apply.
The Superhuman Food Pyramid lists table salt under moderate use. Read more to learn about the benefits and risks of regular table salt.
Regular Table Salt Benefits:
The two major elements that make up regular table salt perform essential functions in the body.
Sodium is one of those nutrient minerals that are called electrolytes. These are basically compounds that carry an electrical charge and can therefore conduct electricity. Sodium moves in and out of cells and it is this activity that helps generate and transmit nerve impulses. This is also part of the delicate balance of fluids and substances in and outside of cells. As such this mineral is fundamental in the way your body keeps itself properly hydrated, maintains the acid-alkaline equilibrium in the blood, and the proper function of the nervous system.
Chloride, the chemical other half of table salt, functions in a similar manner. Sodium and chloride along with the other electrolytes such as potassium, calcium and magnesium need to be constantly kept in just the right amounts in order for the physiological activities they affect to continue normally.
Regular Table Salt Risks:
Your body has its own way of regulating sodium and chloride. Excess amounts of these compounds are usually expelled in the urine. But of course when you really overload on regular table salt, you could give your kidneys too much to handle. Those already suffering some kind of renal disease have to drastically reduce salt in their diet.
Most research on high salt intake also definitely point to increase in blood pressure. People with hypertension are always advised to lessen eating of salty foods and other dishes that contain a lot of sodium. Strokes and cardiovascular diseases are the other associated conditions.
Too little salt can be just as bad as too much. Both lead to cases of electrolyte imbalance.
One of the possible reasons why your muscles feel really weak or why you may experience extreme muscle contraction after an intense exercise is because you’ve lost a lot of sodium or other electrolytes through sweat.
Hypernatremia is the condition where there’s more sodium than water in your body. Hyponatremia is just the opposite. Both are dangerous and can occur if you don’t properly rehydrate after a lot heavy physical activity.
Regular Table Salt Practical Uses:
Table salt is used to flavor a wide range of dishes. Aside from that it’s also a common natural food preservative. Brine used for pickling vegetables or flavoring meat is basically just water and salt, with some vinegar, sugar or some other spice added depending on the particular recipe.
The main therapeutic use of salt is for rehydration and restoring electrolyte balance in the body. There are packaged oral rehydration salts available in pharmacies and this treatment is usually applied when a lot of fluids have been lost due to vomiting or diarrhea. You can make your own solution by simply mixing ½ teaspoon of regular table salt and 6 teaspoons of sugar in 1 liter of clean water.
Rehydration is also needed during and after exercise. If you’re the type who likes to make home-made power smoothies, simply add ½ teaspoon of salt in whatever mix of whole fruits or vegetables you’re blending.
In the next post, I’ll tell you about the pros and cons of red pepper and how it should be used in moderation in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the herbs, spices and sweeteners on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
If you have questions, comments or feedback about the pros and cons of regular table salt, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the pros and cons of regular table salt.