Have you ever had days, or perhaps this is how you are all the time when you can stop drinking and yet can’t seem to satisfy your thirst? Maybe you have an unexplainable craving for all salty foods.
I presume that when we think about sodium, sometimes we have differing views about it. Most of the time, we hear that low-sodium diets are good for us, but we may not perceive the role that sodium plays in a wide range of processes in our bodies.
In today’s blog, I’d like to focus on this crucial mineral and the seven reasons why we require it.
7 reasons why we need sodium:
1. Sodium supports blood sugar regulation. As a result, salt improves insulin sensitivity and thus aids in blood sugar control. When our bodies produce insulin, we want our cells to be sensitive to it so that they can respond appropriately. A decrease in sodium content, or simply restricting sodium without realizing it, can cause our cells to be less insulin sensitive, and we all know how important blood sugar control is for a variety of reasons in our overall health.
2. Sodium aids digestion by increasing stomach acid production. Our bodies require salt to maintain proper stomach pH, which necessitates the production of stomach acid. Many of us have low stomach acid, and because of the symptoms we experience, we may assume we produce too much as if we have indigestion or something.
However, it’s really a problem of needing to produce more.
For instance in stomach acid, proper stomach acid is absolutely imperative for good digestion so we can be eating all the good, nutrient-dense foods. However, if they’re not getting broken down properly because of inadequate stomach acid, then that is going to show up in a lot of different ways. Maybe we aren’t getting enough micro and macronutrients from our food, and this can affect how slow our digestive system is, which leads to other problems.
3. Sodium aids in stress management. A fun fact is that salt can actually lower adrenaline spikes. When we are in a fight-or-flight mode, we see it manifest over time as adrenal burnout.
You’ve most likely heard of adrenal fatigue. It’s kind of, it starts here, right? As cortisol levels rise, we experience adrenaline surges. And over time, it weakens our adrenal function.
As a result, we see fatigue contributing to a variety of other symptoms, the salt can help to buffer some of that. Adrenaline is, of course, necessary for our stress response.
Sodium helps our adrenal function, and since sodium plays such an important part in how it works, simply focusing on getting enough sodium in a day can help you manage your stress.
Another fun fact: if you experience an adrenaline spike and you’re kind of feeling your heart flutter and possibly a headache, you can actually sprinkle a little salt, sugar, or honey on your tongue.
It really helps your body cope with that, and it helps to level that out quicker. That’s just a fun fight for you.
4. Sodium increases your metabolic function. Because it can help your body deal with cortisol spikes, regulate blood sugar, and aid digestion—all of these things contribute to an increase in metabolic function.
Sodium also allows things to enter and exit the cell, it aids in cell permeability. That is another reason why it can improve cell function, which in turn improves metabolic function. This is something we should all strive for: to improve our metabolic function because it is the primary way our bodies function.
A slower metabolic function does not occur naturally as you age. It occurs because you are not providing your body with what it requires. So there’s a breakdown somewhere, and it’s affecting your cellular function, which in turn is affecting your metabolism and sodium can help increase that over time.
5. Sodium keeps you hydrated. This kind of goes back to the fact that you can drink all the water but not be hydrated. Maybe you’re just thirsty all the time, and yet you don’t know how to quench your thirst. It’s probably a sign that you don’t have enough sodium in your body because if you increase your water intake, it won’t be able to hydrate the cell because it lacks the necessary electrolytes and minerals.
That’s a key thing: we don’t necessarily want to focus solely on the amount of water we consume. Yes, water is good for you, but you want it to do its job and actually hydrate your cells.
6. Sodium helps to retain magnesium. You’ve probably heard that magnesium is extremely important and that many of us are deficient in it simply due to the amount of stress we face. More minerals, including magnesium and sodium, can become deficient extremely quickly.
Yes, magnesium is important, but I find that many people take magnesium, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not really being retained by our bodies.
Obtaining some sodium from a variety of sources can really help us retain some of that magnesium so that we have the energy for these cellular processes, which, of course, manifest in a variety of other things that we look for. Mainly energy, our bodies require energy to function properly. So it starts at the acellular level with some of these key minerals, sodium being one of them.
7. Sodium is a crucial mineral because it satisfies us truly. There are several ways in which we are satisfied by food; however, sodium plays a significant role in this. Having that salty taste really helps to satisfy us, and it’s crazy how we can see all of the other ways that it satisfies what our body needs, but it also satisfies us through our taste buds.
I just think it’s really cool how our bodies work. I adore the way it references the Bible and how it tells us that we are the salt of the earth.
I also think it’s neat that he gave us the analogy of being the salt of the earth, but he also gave us salt so that we can help our bodies with the processes that they require and that we require in order to have the energy and vitality that we desire.
So there you have it, a quick rundown of seven reasons why sodium is such an important mineral. You can also check out the video below!
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