Salt is a survival food, according to emergency preparedness website The Provident Prepper.

As the main source of sodium and chloride ions in the human diet, salt helps maintain nerve and muscle function, regulate body fluids and control blood pressure and volume. It also helps restore electrolytes the body lose through sweating. Electrolytes are minerals that help balance the amount of water in the body.

When a Taiwanese mountaineer and his girlfriend got lost and stranded on a ledge under a waterfall for 47 days in the Himalayan foothills in Nepal in 2017, snow, water and salt helped them survive after consuming their backpack food while waiting for rescue.

Liang Sheng-yueh, then 21, was eventually rescued and survived, but his girlfriend, Liu Chen-chun, 19, died of starvation three days before they were found. A doctor who treated Liang at a hospital in Kathmandu said he “likely survived because he was able to get both salt and water in his body,” ABC News reported.

Early this month, Brazilian gardener Nelson Nedy, 51, was on a rock watching the view in Grumari beach when waves knocked him off into the water and current swept him three kilometers away to an uninhabited island.

A makeshift tent for sheltering local fishermen became his temporary refuge in Palmas Island off Rio de Janeiro. Two bottles of water in the tent, two lemons he found on the ground and charcoal that he ate eventually ran out after a few days but no rescuers arrived.

Nedy tried to swim away from the island back to Grumari beach on a makeshift board made out of styrofoam and a plywood door, but waves slammed him against a rock, the Daily Mail reported. Injury forced him to turn back.

On the fifth day, jet skiiers spotted him as he waved his shirt and rescue finally came. He was airlifted to a hospital and discharged on the same day on 10 August.

Aside from eating lemons and charcoal, Nedy said drinking pure salt water kept him alive in the island until rescuers arrived, according to the Daily Mail.

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