The Best Sources of Clean Sodium

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You can’t work up a sweat if you don’t have any salt.

Much like its common snack-food companion, sugar, sodium has a pretty bad rep, to say the absolute least. Most things that are bad for you tend to be extremely high in sodium, and overdoing it on that stuff can lead to severe dehydration, kidney malfunctioning, and several… bathroom concerns that don’t need to be detailed here. However, you do need to have salt in your body to function properly, whether it be for properly absorbing your nutrients or processing electrolytes. The trick is to get your salt from clean, natural foods, and in carefully controlled amounts.

If your body is craving additional salt, you know what one of the best choices is? Pickles. Kosher dill pickles, in addition to being one of my favorite snacks, have a balanced level of salt thanks to their preservation process. That’s why pickle juice is a natural energy drink! Just don’t get the sweet pickles, because they tend to have some added sugar. Other pickled and preserved foods like sauerkraut and jerky are also solid choices, though in the case of jerky, you should monitor your consumption carefully, as there can be a lot of salt in a single piece, especially if it’s heavily processed.

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Seafood, as one may expect, is also a great source of clean-burning salt. Sardines and salmon roe are classic brain food, rich not only in ocean sodium, but omega-3 fatty acids. If you’ve acquired a taste for it, dried seaweed is one of the saltiest things the ocean can produce. Its powerfully fishy taste makes it a great companion for hard-boiled eggs, veggie wraps, and even as a topping on your popcorn.

Your body craves salt because of its distinctive flavor profile, but also because it needs that sodium to regulate multiple important processes. Keep your salt intake clean and regular, and you’ll be clean and regular too!