Many organizations, including the institute of Medicine is pressuring the U.S. government, to establish guidelines for the amount of sodium in our food products. There are over thirty cities in the U.S. along with the American Heart Association that are endorsing a National Salt Reduction Initiative.
Should We Jump On This Bandwagon? Cycling tips
The question is, should we jump on the bandwagon? It is very difficult to avoid sodium completely, especially if you eat restaurant food, processed and prepared foods. It is not healthy to try to eliminate salt from your diet. First of all, your body cannot produce it on it’s own. In order for your cells to function properly salt is a necessary nutrient. It is recommended by the Institute of Medicine that the daily intake of should be 3.8 grams of salt, or just over a half a teaspoon.
An electrolyte, sodium is a mineral that assist in sustaining hydration and muscle function. This is why sport drinks include sodium. Sodium is continually being eliminated from your body by means of sweat and urine. A drop of blood pressure may occur if you fail to reload that water and sodium. The body needs the electrolyte sodium, in or to maintain hydration and muscle function. Sodium also retains water in the blood. Chloride and sodium ions, the two major components of salt, are needed by all known living creatures in small quantities. Salt is involved in regulating the water content (fluid balance) of the body. The sodium ion itself is used for electrical signaling in the nervous system.
You must be careful when you hydrate before a long ride or race. Too much water consumption can lead to a condition know as Hyponatremia. This can have serious complications by eliminating too much sodium through urination.
It is recommended that the intake of salt for people age 14 and over should not be more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, which is about a teaspoon of salt. The Institute of Medicine sets a lower limit (1,500 milligrams, or slightly more than 1/2 teaspoon) for older, and middle-aged adults, individuals with kidney disease, diabetes and or hypertension, and African Americans.
What affects does lowering you salt intake have? First of all, in can lower your blood pressure. It can increase your risk of diabetes by lowering your insulin sensitivity. You can also experience higher heart rates with decreased sodium intake. Whether or not this improves your general health is still up to debate. Further clinical trials or suggested to determine if this is beneficial for the general public.
What Impacts Blood Pressure? Cycling Tips
We do know that the one of the most important impact on blood pressure is the ration between sodium and potassium. Your system is continually stabilizing the sodium on the outside of your cells and potassium on the inside. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of potassium, but unfortunately, we tend to eat more and more processed foods and not enough fruits and vegetables. Studies have shown that most younger men are short around 30 to 40 percent of the daily recommended intake of potassium, which is suggested to be about 4,700 milligrams.
Other studies have shown that 77% of the sodium in most people’s diet comes from processed foods. 12% of that intake comes from what is naturally in the food itself and around 5% is what’s added to home cook meals.
So, if you cut down on your processed food intake, adding salt to your food will not cause your blood pressure to go through the roof. And, if you drink the recommended amount of water each day the excess salt in your system will be eliminated
A low salt diet does not lower high blood pressure for most people. A high salt diet causes high blood pressure only in people with high blood insulin levels. Eating salty foods and drinks when you exercise for more than two hours is unlikely to raise your blood pressure. Most authorities on the subject also do not recommend salt tablets, since they have been found to cause nausea and vomiting.
Dr. James Gamble, back in the 40s, paid medical students to lie on a raft in his swimming pool, taking various amounts of fluids and salt and having blood drawn to measure salt and mineral levels. He showed that you have to take a lot of salt when you exercise for several hours, particularly in hot weather.
If you don’t take salt and fluids during extended exercise in hot weather, you will tire earlier and increase your risk for heat stroke, dehydration and cramps. Potassium deficiency does not occur in healthy athletes. The only mineral that athletes need to take when exercising is regular table salt.