Salt serves a variety of functions in the human
body. Some of the biological machinery in the body
needs salt to function. One example of this is the
cellular "pumps" which move various things into
and out of a cell. Sometimes these pumps are used
to send messages between cells. These pumps often
require salt to function.
In addition, one of the ways that the body
knows whether to drink more water or urinate is
based on how much salt is in the blood. If there
is too much salt in your body, you get thirsty so
that you drink more water and dilute the salt.
Salt is in fact so important, that humans and
animals in general are really good at sensing salt
in food as a "salty" flavor.
Another way to view the role of salt is in keeping
your cells the right size. Your cells naturally
have salt in them as does the surrounding blood.
If you put a cell in water that is too salty,
water will flow out of the cell and it will
shrivel. However, if you put a cell in water that
is not salty enough, water will flow into the cell
and it will swell and burst. This process is
called "osmosis" which describes how water tends
to flow from dilute solutions into more
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