Salt intake has a sweet spot. Throughout the decades, health experts have been recommending to limit salt consumption in their diet. As a matter of fact, the American Heart Association says that limiting sodium consumption can help reduce occurrences of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, strokes, osteoporosis and kidney disease.
On the other hand, a person without a history of high blood pressure and other health issues with an active lifestyle, it might be a good idea to add more salt into his or her diet.
However, don’t go overboard. But, focus on adding salt to your meals and avoid eating salty treats frequently.
A Cardiologist’s Thoughts On Salt
Before we go further, let us listen to Dr. Stephen Sinatra’s thoughts on salt. He is a cardiologist and an integrative medicine doctor.
He talks about processed salts, which causes hypertension. These type of salt is a part of many processed and packaged foods. Moreover, he mentions a lot of hidden sources of processed salts. Knowing these sources is a key to avoiding over consumption of salt.
Now that we know sodium or salt is not that bad as we thought, let us explore the health benefits of salt particularly in bodybuilding.
Salt Health Benefits In Bodybuilding
If you’re doing bodybuilding and no history of high blood pressure and other health complications, consider a good amount of salt in your diet.
However, make sure you take precautionary measures to know the hidden sources of processed salts. With it, you’ll be able to avoid and exactly know how much salt you’re taking in.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of salt in bodybuilding.
Sodium Increases Blood Volume
Taking sodium as part of a pre-workout meal or bodybuilding supplement helps the body to produce a boost in blood volume. Blood volume is composed of blood plasma and red blood cells. It helps in carrying nutrients throughout the body such as hormones, glucose, and amino acids.
With a boost in blood volume, it helps in finishing your workout strong. Additionally, it helps in delivering of nutrients to appropriate muscles during workout efficiently and quickly.
One study1 conducted by researchers at New Zealand’s University of Otago found that sodium intake helped atheletes run longer.
Drinking fluids with a higher sodium concentration than in regular sports drinks, before exercise, can elicit a transient hypovolemic response that is partly preserved (relative to a low-sodium drink) in exercise and is associated with improved physiological status and exercise capacity in warm conditions in trained men and women.
Sodium Increases Nutrient Delivery
To achieve maximum performance during exercise, the body needs water for hydration, fatty and amino acids, glucose and electrolytes. All these need to get inside the muscles cells or they won’t be able to do their work.
Fortunately, sodium can help. It acts as a cotransporter allow nutrients easily pass the cell walls.
Sodium Stimulates Thirst
Thirst is a good thing as it is a signal that the body needs more fluids resulting in proper hydration. Keeping proper hydration is vital as it helps the kidneys maintain a proper level of electrolytes.
Additionally, maintaining proper hydration also helps boost blood volume during workouts. It also reduces the risk of losing strength and endurance or suffer from dehydration symptoms such as muscle cramps, dizziness, fatigue, and headaches.
Salt is not as bad as we thought of but it has many health benefits. Of course, there are people who are salt sensitive. But, for most people especially those have no history of high blood pressure, sodium is essential.
Now, too much of a good thing is bad. Hence, never go overboard and simply take every food with salt in them especially junk foods with high processed salt contents.
How Much Salt Should You Take In?
For people who are eating whole foods are their primary source of nutrients, salt intake should not be a problem. However, it would be difficult for most people who are eating junk foods including canned and packaged foods.
Here’s a video by the New Englan Journal of Medicine that takes a look at 3 studies on salt consumption.
Avoiding highly processed foods and fast foods are the most effective way to keep sodium intake at a safe level. Dr. Stephen Sinatra mentioned some of the sources of hidden salts.
Additionally, Cleveland Clinic also listed foods with hidden salts and how much sodium they contained.