I’ve always had a fascination with salt; my current obsession is curing olives. From scratch – well, from pick. Yes, olives that I picked with my very own pale and interesting hands. Basic requirements: bags of salt, water and oceans of patience. Like, really. Up to 9 weeks of patience. As this is a rather lengthy subject (as with the olive curing), I’m going to be dividing the water and sodium blogs up, so that I don’t lose you – zzzzzz – halfway through and so that you can absorb (ha) the information.
Most of us are familiar with the warning that we should restrict salt (sodium) in our diet. Too much salt intake, we are told, can be bad for us.
While that is true, it is also true that sodium, in proper concentrations, is a mineral that is essential for helping your body to maintain good health. Located primarily in the blood and in the fluids inside and outside of the cells, sodium is vital for normal nerve and muscle function, and is required to maintain normal fluid balance within and around the cells.
It’s when sodium levels become too high or too low that imbalances can result, setting the stage for disease.
Your body’s supply of sodium is derived from foods and drinks you consume, while sodium is excreted primarily through perspiration and during urination. Your kidneys maintain a consistent level of sodium in the body by regulating the amount of sodium that is eliminated in the urine. But when sodium intake and excretion are not in balance, the total amount of sodium in the body is affected. Changes in your body’s sodium levels directly affect your body’s blood volume (how much water your blood contains).
Later blogs will detail what too much and too little salt does to us; good and bad salts and the top 10 foods high in sodium.
For this week, and especially keeping in mind the heat we’re experiencing; I think it’s important to remember to keep hydrated, especially as you are more likely to sweat (men); perspire (general people) and ‘glow’ (women with Victorian age sensibilities). This means that you are not only losing water vital to all your body functions, but you are also sweating salt, which needs to be replenished.
This does not necessarily mean that you now have license to eat bags and bags of salt ‘n vinegar crisps as you will find that most foodstuffs are already salted (contain sodium). Just stay cool, drink your water, keep calm and carry on.