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Salt has gotten a bad reputation in recent year but in reality it is essential for your health and has many other uses. So before you totally cut out salt from your diet, find out all the facts.

Salt plays a vital role in many parts of the body and since we regularly excrete salt in our urine and perspiration we need a constant supply to replace it. We need on average 1.5g of salt a day to keep the body working properly and this is usually found naturally in the food we eat. Most people consume more than that and salt deficiency is rare. However, there are a few cases where there might be a salt deficiency due to excessive sweating or diarrhoea and in severe cases it could be fatal. If you are not getting enough salt you are likely to feel faint, having throbbing headaches and experience muscular cramps. Salt tablets can be taken to balance salt depletion.

Although salt is essential, an excess is bad for your health. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has found that a salt intake of more than 6g per day is linked to high blood pressure. Salt also causes water retention and this may cause an accumulation of dangerous levels of fluids in the body. Salt substitutes which are low in sodium are available and your could also lower your salt intake by using other spices and taste enhancers such as garlic, cheese or lemon juice.

Salt is also used for therapeutic purposes. Salty water acts as an antiseptic since it prevents bacteria from growing. Many dentists recommend the usage of warm, salty water as a mouthwash, especially after pulling out teeth. However, do not put salt directly on a wound since it will only make it worse. Sea salt, especially that from the Dead Sea, are thought to help skin problems such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. Rheumatism and arthritis can also benefit from salty sea water.