What are the benefits of salt?

A brief look at its history and use

Salt has been known since prehistoric times for its seasoning and food preservation properties. It was extracted from mines often buried deep in the ground, or more easily from salt springs or the sea (salt farming).

The salt roads were the main communication and trade routes since Antiquity for the transportation of salt from the salt-producing regions to the regions where there was no salt.

It has also been a means of exchange and a currency, particularly in China and Europe. Salt has been taxed for several centuries via a specific tax called gabelle which appeared under Louis IX. This tax became permanent, variable according to the provinces and increasing to the point of making the price of salt high, became so unpopular that it led to massive rural exodus, triggered wars and notably participated in the outbreak of the French Revolution.

What is salt?

Salt is made up of chlorine and sodium. In 1 gram of salt, there are 600 mg of chlorine and 400 mg of sodium, hence the name sodium chloride.

Initially, salt (NaCl) is a chemically similar raw material everywhere. In some regions, its harvesting, purification and drying process can be very industrial or very traditional.

In the case of industrial production, however, one cannot speak of "chemical" salt because it is not the result of a chemical production or reaction. On the other hand, not all salts undergo the same treatment after harvesting.

A table salt can be refined and contain 99% sodium chloride and can be enriched with iodine, fluorine or anti-caking agents.

A sea salt or a fleur de sel will naturally be more loaded with trace elements and will often contain less than 80% sodium chloride (+/- 77% sodium chloride, 16% magnesium salts, 4% calcium salts and 2% potassium salts).

Their aspects, crystallizations and densities will also be different (large crystals, flakes, pyramids...)

Salt or sodium content?

Attention it is not the same thing. Food salt is sodium chloride, a molecule composed of 60% chlorine ions and 40% sodium ions.

1 gram of sodium corresponds to 2.54 grams of sodium chloride.

If the composition of a food mentions the amount of sodium, you will have to do a little calculation to know the total percentage of salt absorbed.

Salt... what is it for?

Sodium and chloride are both essential for proper metabolic function. Among other things, they help maintain blood volume, transmit signals to cell walls and transport other nutrients such as glucose.

According to various studies, a reasonable salt intake would be between 7.5 and 12.5 g of salt per day.

The benefits of salt for endurance sports

  • During exercise

Pure water is less well assimilated than water with added sodium. This is a fact. The effect of sodium (which is an electrolyte) on hydration is very relevant for athletes!

Compared to the ingestion of water alone, the consumption of the correct amount of sodium with water during physical exercise promotes an improved and increased intake of "liquid", thus improving hydration, or rather limiting dehydration linked to exercise.

In addition, the addition of sodium helps to better maintain plasma and extracellular volumes. Indeed, it limits the decrease of the plasma volume during exercise (this plasma volume corresponds to the blood volume in other words). To put it simply, it helps the sportsman or woman to reduce the frequency of his or her urination, which allows him or her to save time in his or her race and not to spend his or her time on the side of the road!

Finally, this sodium intake helps limit the drop in plasma sodium concentration (called hyponatremia for a value below 130mmpl.L-1). This is especially true for very long events (ultratrail, ultra-distance cycling, Iron Man...) and which are carried out in hot environmental conditions where evaporation and perspiration are important.

There is no precise value for sodium intake per hour of effort. In view of recent research, it would seem that an intake of 400 to 500 mg of sodium (i.e. 1.2 to 1.5 g of salt) per hour is satisfactory for long-duration events.

  • After exercise

It is possible to compensate for dehydration more effectively and more quickly after an effort by consuming a little sodium in addition to your drinks during recovery. The form in which you do this is not too important.

The earlier this intake, the better the restoration of the hydromineral balance, and recovery is thus optimized! This is especially important when athletes have to perform long and intense series of efforts in close proximity (on an ultra distance cycling race, for example).

Where to find salt at Holyfat?

Holyfat products contain, among other good things, salt. Our oilseed purees contain Guérande salt, especially the cocoa salt which has a fairly high salt content (0.62 g of salt per 100 g). Our cocoa-peanut bars also contain salt chips (0.66 g / 100 g). From now on, you can find our drinks rich in electrolytes (especially in sodium), ideal to accompany you in your sports performances but also to improve your recovery. Visit the store under the heading "salty water". In parallel, we continue to actively develop new recipes daily to meet your expectations. We don't tell you more!

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