-if you're 51+ years old, black, have hypertension, kidney disease or diabetes, you get 1,500 mg. each day
-if you're a healthy adult, you get 2,300 mg. per day. A teaspoon.
Now most of the time, I don't have an issue with this. Salt isn't used too much in my cooking, and I avoid a lot of common processed foods filled with sodium. When I do indulge in a salty meal, usually from a restaurant, I get the associated water weight gain and bloating. So I'm happy to stick to my meeting my 2,300 mg. requirements each day.
And then...summer arrives. If you're running in high humidity, you sweat. A lot. It's not pretty, and you're draining your body of electrolytes like sodium. On my long runs, I take precautions. I drink special drinks, chew sports snacks that contain electrolytes, etc. But I still crave salt. I used to keep a giant container of pretzels by the bed just to get handful of salt when I needed it! (and PS--my blood pressure is in check. Low, actually!) So I wondered--did I really need that salt I thought I was craving?
Here are some facts about running and salt needs:
-Each pound of sweat you lose has contains anywhere from 300-1,100 mg. of sodium in it
-As you adapt to running in the heat, you lose less sodium
-Hyponatremia, or low blood sodium, occurs when you have too much water and not enough salt
-Look at your clothes to see how much salt you lose. White crust from salt on your skin? You lose a lot.
-Most electrolyte sports drink only contain 1/5 of the sodium per ounce as compared to blood concentration
--Pee after a run? Doesn't necessarily mean you're hydrated. It can mean that you have too little sodium in your body, and you need to compensate by getting rid of some water.
So guess what? I guess I just need to listen to my body. After a tough workout I'm covered in chalky white sweat, which means I'm losing a lot of sodium. When my body is craving salt, I'll eat something salty! The rest of the time, I'll stick to meeting the recommended amounts for healthy adults: about one teaspoon each day.
Do you pay attention to salt in your diet? Worry about too much/too little?
When trying lose weight, I ate as little sodium as possible. Now, I find myself eating lots as it gets hotter and I take my workouts outside.
How do you take in salt for long runs?
I generally just bring along something like Gu Chews or Shot Blocks, which do have some sodium in them. Often I'm guilty of just bringing along regular jellybeans--which don't have any sodium. I love using nuun instead of plain water, because that has all my electrolytes already.