PART 2: Salt Balance
Let’s talk about Salt. Devil in the white dress or absolutely the best. What is best for your uniquely awesome self, is not simply black or white.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, the kidneys are the key organ associated with winter, and the water element in our bodies. Salt is one of the key ingredients regulated by our kidneys and adrenals in our water system.
Full of curiosity I stuck my head in a pile of books and looked up the connection of salt, water, circulation, our kidneys, and our second chakra. These next few articles are simple explanations of what I have found.
Check out Part One here: Hydration.
A body of salt water.
Our blood is a saline solution. Every single cell in our body uses and contains salt. Ever get a little cut on your finger, ouch, instinctually hold it to your mouth? A little salty right? That sweat dripping down your face during a fantastic work out, so salty.
We bring salt into our bodies from our food. Like most minerals we have no provisions to make it ourselves. Yet Salt is vital to a multitude of constantly occurring bodily processes.
You are a big bubbling mess of electrically charged particles! Did you know that? Sodium is a key player in making sure this system works. Along with all of the others in the electrolyte gang, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, phosphate, and bicarbonate. Sodium being the most predominant. The kidney adrenal partnership is in charge of maintaining this balance.
When salt levels are too high, the kidneys will take some out of the blood supply and pass it through the urine. When salt levels are too low, the kidneys will pull more water out and into the urine. It’s much more complicated then that, such as sometimes the adrenals will signal your marrow to make more plasma to also balance the electrolytes in the blood.
Oh yes electrolytes, I’ve heard of those!
Made famous by a coach of a football team down in FL, Gatorade spread the word on electrolytes. Every athlete around the world knows of their importance, and how terrible it is to crash. Personally I focus on consumption of potassium before a sweaty yoga class, but it is salt that I need after, and magnesium that I strive to take daily. I will follow up soon with a post on electrolytes. If you find yourself over heating easily, this is definitely something you want to check out.
We all know to stay hydrated while performing sports, but many forget about these important mineral. The water to salt ratio of the body is super important. Over hydrating yourself can dilute this ratio and leave you so sick. In fact treatment for dehydration at marathons is becoming rare, while treatment for over-hydration and depleted electrolytes is skyrocketing. Be sure to get in lots of electrolytes and minerals before, during, and after your events.
If it’s so good for our bodies, why is salt advertised as being the cause of terrible disease?
It is undeniable that salts are MAJOR contributors to high blood pressure, heart disease, hypertension, migraines, stroke, kidney stones, kidney disease, osteoporosis, on, and on, and on. Yes this is true. Here we have to address Quality and Quantity.
Everyone is a unique individual. Some people, (like me, yayy) have bodies that need lots of salts. We tend to have lower internal temperatures, pulse, and blood pressure. Some individuals tend to run very hot, have a heavy pulse, and higher normal blood pressure. This is where I say trust and listen to your body.
A good experiment is to remove all salts from your diet for 3 days. First measure your blood pressure at the store, while you stock up for some home cooking. No restaurants, no pre-packaged food, nothing from a box, no red meat, no celery, no carrots, or spinach. Then on the 4th day, make a nice steak rubbed with sea salt, sautéed spinach, and well salted baked potato. See how you feel. Use only quality salt. Then try the experiment again, and go out to eat in a restaurant. Big difference.
Every restaurant aside from the Fine Dinning Michelin star joints use highly processed crap salt. This stuff, not to mention any names (cough cough Morton’s) makes me swell up like a tick. My ankles hurt. My feet swell, and I get a tad cranky. Yet at home I dress everything with quality salt and my mood is elevated and my endurance is awesome. Slack off with restaurant food, and I even get angina, chest pains.
Eating out say “No Salt Please” and they must comply. Eating at home use only top quality stuff, available a most grocery stores.
Why does quality matter? Natural unprocessed salts contain a multitude of other electrolytes and minerals, NOT just sodium. So as you take on more sodium your blood stream does not get blasted out with only one mineral, it gets a balanced compliment of a large spectrum of minerals.
The best natural salts are: Mediterranean Sea Salt, Maldon Sea Salt, Himalayan Pink Salt, celtic sea salt.
I like to supplement with Utah Sea Minerals, and take baths with epsom salts and essential oils.
Why you crave it.
It is so needed by our bodies that it is one of the most craved tastes. Personally I LOVE salty snacks, and struggled with chips and pretzels for a long time. Now when ever I crave salty yum yum yums, I know my mineral supply is low. Add a few drops of Liquid Minerals into a glass of water, and the craving goes away. I will then take a few drops in water for a few days to make sure my levels are good in the blood stream. Also if I know I am about to sweat like crazy, drop drop in the water bottle we go. This does miracles in back to back Hot Yoga classes.
So remember if you crave salty snacks, its the minerals and electrolytes you are looking for. Not just sodium. This also may signify a diet to high in low quality salt. So make the switch, and watch your cravings go bye bye. What cravings?
Stay tuned for more articles on electrolytes!!
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