In our day and age, many people are warned to avoid salt. With the ever-increasing number of people suffering from hypertension or high blood pressure, we are at an all-time high with 1 in 3 U.S. adults walking around with high blood pressure. And since excess salt causes high blood pressure, it’s no wonder salt gets a bad rap. While salt may be used too frequently in processed snacks and prepared foods, it is a necessary part of our diet. Salt, or sodium chloride, is a mineral that plays a vital role in hydration and maintaining electrolyte balance in the body. Simply put—without it, we would die. How does salt benefit your body? With the right amount of sodium—not too much and not too little—you’ll enjoy the following health benefits.

1. Hydration

Water loves salt. Sodium and potassium work together to regulate the water balance inside and outside of the cells in the body. When a person lacks salt, he can become dehydrated or suffer from water intoxication. This is also way too much sodium can cause bloating and water retention—which is what happens when a person consumes excess refined table salt. For hydration, your best bet is sea salt. Sea salt typically contains about 60 trace minerals making it a very good source of electrolytes—and don’t forget the water, of course.