Ask anyone in the western world about sodium or salt and chances are you will get a statement like; ‘it’s bad for you” and you should avoid and limit it in your diet. However, “sodium” and “salt” are not the same things and a large portion of the population has been brainwashed into believing that sodium is the root cause of all ill health and should be avoided altogether.
Allow me to explain and hopefully clear up the confusion surrounding this very important electrolyte. Salt, such as regular everyday table salt is sodium chloride and is also iodized, this combination is actually where most of the problems surrounding salt stem from. The chloride bond and iodization form an acid in the body that your internal environment has a difficult time counteracting with metabolic buffers. Pure sodium should not be avoided, things like sea salt and foods and condiments that contain sodium phosphate as a preservative are much better choices.
Pure sodium buffers metabolic acidosis that intense workouts create, it increases nutrient delivery to cells and increases blood volume which in turn cranks up athletic performance and aids in skin bursting pumps in the gym and contrary to popular belief will actually make you look leaner and harder, not water logged.
BUT WHAT ABOUT WATER RETENTION AND COSMETIC EFFECT?…
This is the real kicker I just mentioned, people purposely avoiding sodium thinking that they will retain less water are actually doing much more harm than good and creating an internal environment for the opposite to happen. You see sodium is positively charged and water is negatively charged, so wherever sodium goes water will follow. Sodium is an incredibly important electrolyte to your body and this is a classic example of people trying to outsmart mother nature. Your body like anything in biology, prefers balance and will fight to stay in “homeostasis” which is a state of internal equilibrium no matter the exogenous changes.
So when someone starts to restrict the intake of sodium in their diet, the kidneys will release a hormone called aldosterone, which will reabsorb any sodium coming in and hang on to it for dear life. Now remember what I said about water following sodium? That’s exactly what begins to happen, as your body hoards sodium because you’re not taking in adequate supplies you will actually create water retention, bloating and overall smoothness to the physique as sodium is much like water in that the more you take in the more you will secrete.
Listen, unless you have a medical condition that your doctor has directly attributed to taking in too much sodium which only 10% of hypertension issues have a known cause I might add or you’re on an all fast food diet then there is no reason anyone, especially hard training athletes and gym enthusiasts who generally also sweat a lot more, therefore are already secreting more to begin with should be avoiding sodium intake.
Things like sea salt and foods/condiments that contain sodium phosphate as a preservative are good choices, the point is; you really don’t have to go out of your way to add it in to your diet but just don’t go out of your way to eliminate it from your diet for no good reason.
Sodium; it’s your secret weapon, just don’t confuse it with salt!
Yours in fitness