According to the Swiss Society for Nutrition, the consumption of salt in Switzerland averages 8-10g per day, which is significantly higher than the 5g recommended by the WHO. However, common salt, or correctly sodium chloride, is vital for our body and is one of the most important minerals for our body. Without this salt, many of our body functions could not be maintained. Sufficient salt is indispensable for our tissue tension, fluid balance, bone formation and also for muscle relaxation.
However, the body cannot produce salt itself and must therefore absorb it through food. Through food intake we do not always have our salt balance under control, and so it often comes to increased salt consumption, especially through hidden salts in food. Hidden salts are mainly found in finished products or foods such as bread, sausage or cheese.
If there is an excess of salt, it is excreted by the kidneys, which causes a not insignificant loss of water and puts additional strain on the kidneys. Due to the higher fluid loss, more fluid must be available in the body. If too little is then drunk, the lack of water can lead to vasoconstriction, which in turn causes blood pressure to rise.
In order to have your own salt balance under control, we therefore recommend the following:
- Abstain from finished products and use fresh, regional products
- Cook yourself and season the food with fresh herbs
- Animal foods usually contain more salt, so increasingly use plant foods
- Vegetables retain their own flavour best when steamed or cooked. So avoid high heat so that you do not have to use salt as often.
- Fresh chillies or hot peppers add spice and flavour to your food. So you can simply do without salt.
But what about increased physical activity?
We all know the pictures of the top athletes who get cramps during the Ironman or the soccer players who sink to the ground in the second half of the game, plagued by cramps. Reasons for this can be an insufficient energy supply/carbohydrate intake or the lack of salt caused by sweating. Through sweating, we lose on average about one litre of sweat per hour under medium stress. Per litre of sweat we lose about 2-3g of salt. These values can be massively higher for people who sweat a lot or train very intensively.
At moderate stress levels of 1-2 hours, it is sufficient to take the lost salt with a meal after the sport. Salt supplementation is recommended for longer periods of stress. In this case we recommend a sports drink of your choice (e.g. FUEL from Nutriathletic).