You’ve probably heard that too much salt is bad for your health.
And it’s true.
Excess salt has been associated with high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney disease to name a few.
But what you may not know is that adequate salt intake is important not only for your workouts, but also your bones.
Why Your Workouts (and Bones) Need Salt
A recent (June, 2015) and very large study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism shows chronic low sodium concentration in the blood (hyponatremia) increases risk of osteoporosis, fragility fracture by 390%!
In other words, when sodium (salt) in your blood is abnormally low it increases your risk of fracture by a staggering amount.
Why might this be?
Well, studies have shown that a large fraction of body sodium is stored in your bones, meaning that your bones may serve as a potential reservoir for your body during periods of stress (or workouts). When your body is stressed and needs more sodium, your bones will provide it.
So the answer to combating hyponatremia or low sodium in your blood is to provide your body with the adequate sodium it needs so it doesn’t take it from your bones.
Lara Pizzorno, author of “Your Bones” wrote a recent blog post on this very subject in which she says,
“Normally, we need about ½ teaspoon of salt per day, but for many of us, since summer means we’re sweating more, we may need a wee bit more – say just ¾ teaspoon of salt per day.” (The USDA recommends healthy adults should limit their sodium intake to max. 2,300 mg per day or 1 teaspoon.)
Lara makes a great point, when you sweat more you need more salt.
The reason being is the more you sweat the more electrolytes you lose (sodium is an electrolyte). And sodium helps your body hold on to water, which keeps you hydrated for a longer period of time.
Top Foods To Replenish Your Electrolytes Stores
Sodium is the electrolyte we lose in the highest amount when we sweat. So it’s important to replenish what is lost after your workouts. And it doesn’t need to be large amounts of salty foods either. Try these easy and delicious options below:
- Half an avocado with himalayan sea salt and cracked black pepper
- Whole grain bread with natural peanut butter
The takeaway: Too much salt is bad for your health. But making sure you replenish the salts that you lose after a workout or a sweaty summer day is just as important for your health and your bones.