Science Says There's Actually A Healthy Effect Of Eating Salty Foods

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For those of us who are addicted to adding an extra dash of salt to just about anything, the following news may come as a pleasant surprise.

You might not need to be as worried about adding a little extra salt to your meals as you think, according to a study published in Cell Metabolism.

Sure, you've probably heard that salt is linked to a ton of health problems like heart disease and high blood pressure, but have you ever heard about the benefits?

In a series of studies, researchers found that salt helps fight off microbes in human skin cells.

When an infection occurred, they saw that more sodium gathered in the infected area, which prevented bad bacteria from growing as quickly as it normally could.

TIME reports that the discovery was actually an accident; it came about when the senior author of the study found quicker responses to infections in mice that ate a whole lot of sodium.

However, the authors note their discovery doesn't mean eating high-sodium foods should become the next diet fad.

Jonathan Jantsch, an author of the study, said,

There is overwhelming data that tells you a high salt diet is detrimental to the heart. We used one animal approach to look at the beneficial role of salt. So I would be hesitant to draw any conclusions for humans at this stage.

To some, the findings may not seem super groundbreaking. If you've ever had a piercing, you may remember being told to rub some sea salt on the area to prevent an infection.

Still, the study is useful in that it is one of the first of its kind to promote the idea that salt can be used to help the human body, not just hurt it.

And that's all the info I need to ask for extra salt next time I cave in and order fries with my lunch.

Citations: The Weird Benefit of Eating Salty Food (Time), Cutaneous Na Storage Strengthens the Antimicrobial Barrier Function of the Skin and Boosts Macrophage-Driven Host Defense (Cell Metabolism)