Salt has always been a part of our diet due to its ability to add taste to our food. Our tongue have special part which is very sensitive to salty sensation. Also, in ancient days, salt served as preservatives for food because the provide an unfavorable condition for microorganism to live. Salt is known as sodium chloride, it is made up of 40% sodium and 60% chloride by weight.
Over consumption of salt have several health implications like hypertension and heart diseases, this have resulted to their exclusion from diets. Even though we try to restrict its use, it cannot be eliminated entirely from our diets.
Below are the health benefits of salts
1. It helps to prevent iodine deficiency
Iodine is not produced by the body hence it requires a medium for delivering it to the body. Iodine plays vital roles in metabolism and healthy cellular function, also being important to pregnant mothers in order to ensure the health brain development of the unborn child. While iodine is not a part of salt, today it is basically standard fare for all table salt produced to be enriched with iodine, solving a major problem afflicting a large population of the world. Iodized salts are cheap and readily available in Nigeria market.
2. It is involved in digestion
Are you surprised that salt can contribute to digestion? It does aid digestion. Hydrochloric acid ( HCl ) is one of the major substances implicated in digestion, it kick starts digestion in the stomach. For HCl to be produced in the stomach it requires the presence of hydrogen and chlorine ions, salt is basically composed of sodium and chloride ions, which upon ingestion is broken up into constituent parts and reused where it is needed.
3. It is necessary for good heart conduction
While the heart has its own pacemaker cells, there are things beyond them which control their function. For example, sodium ions help in the transmission of electrical impulses, so that these cells are stimulated to transmit signals to cardiac cells to beat. Though it shares this responsibility with potassium ions, its importance cannot be overlooked.
4. It is important to facilitate body movement
In similar manner to the heart, but much more directly, sodium helps propagate the transmission of electrical impulses from the nerves to the muscles, to allow contraction and movement. Without these stimuli, movement would be impossible, and typically take years to develop. This is why children take much longer to develop fine motor skills, since transmission in weaker at this stage.
5. Salt water gargle can promote good oral health
Are you struggling with mouth odour, salt water gargle is a remedy for it. It helps to clear excessive bacteria from the mouth and reducing the impact they have on health. Salt water gargles can also be used to managing streptococcus throat, canker sores ( mouth ulcers), as well as reducing the incidence of developing gingivitis or for managing toothaches. Some toothpastes even use salt as an ingredient for whitening, since micronized sized molecules can help to whiten teeth.
6. It can help to improve respiratory health
Salt possesses anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and mucolytic properties, which is useful in promoting the health of our respiratory system significantly. Have you heard about halotherapy? Halotherapy is an alternative treatment that involves breathing salty air. Some claim that it can treat respiratory conditions, such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, and allergies, though not many people know this. This can be carried out via gargling salt water, drinking salt water and inhaling ultrapure micronized salt into the nostril.
7. It has amazing exfoliate properties
There are various exfoliating scrubs in the market, some are expensive and unreliable. If you are looking for an effective, cheap and eco-friendly exfoliating scrub that can clear your pores and help prevent pimples, salt can do that work. Thanks to the anti-bacterial nature of salt, it achieves two things by removing debris from cells and killing bacteria that cause inflamed pimples. Use a few times weekly to keep your face clean.
8. It serves as an important element of rehydration
Rehydration does not merely involve drinking water, but also the mineral salts that regulate electrolyte balance. When we sweat we lose water and electrolytes, so we must ensure that we rehydrate with an ideally isotonic solution of sodium, magnesium and potassium ions along with water. Use of water alone would cause a scenario known as water intoxication.
9. It helps to maintain normal blood pH
Salt is naturally of a neutral pH, which is what our bodies are ideally looking for. Though our normal pH is slightly alkaline, consumption of many neutral foods helps to maintain that balance. This is important to the brain as well, as small alterations to pH could be lethal.
Everything we take into our body should be in moderation, salt is no exception to the rule. Follow dietary guidelines and it can be one of the healthiest substances in your diet. If you have any health challenges consult your doctor before including it to your diet