I have written numerous blogs and newsletters on the importance of including natural, unprocessed salt in the diet. So I won’t repeat myself yet again. However, I did want to just bring to your attention the fact that salt and sodium are not the same thing and why that’s important.
Salt was originally a food preservative before we had refrigerators and freezers. So it would make sense that our ancestors consumed a lot more salt than we do since it was used to preserve much of their food. I already explained in past posts why salt restriction is not associated with better health.
Sodium is an essential mineral and electrolyte that is critical for maintaining fluid balance, muscle function and nerve health. It is not a villain that causes heart disease and other health problems. Flawed studies from as far back as 1904 have pushed that idea forward but have since been disproved. Salt also helps balance calcium and magnesium. If your body doesn’t get enough, it will pull it from the bone to maintain a normal blood level, as well as pulling magnesium and calcium. Most people are severely deficient in magnesium. Perhaps restricting salt is part of the reason.
Salt is a combination of sodium and chloride, another mineral your body uses for fluid balance and other important functions. Table salt is approximately 40% sodium and 60% chloride. Clearly sodium and salt are not the same thing!
Minerals are critical to health. Perhaps the more important issues are the quality of the salt and the sodium-potassium ratio. As with everything else quality is most important. Most processed table salts contain flow and bleaching agents, and plastic microparticles. Natural, unprocessed salt such as Himalayan crystal salt is naturally lower in sodium, higher in potassium and lower in toxic pollutants. That being said, most people seem to overdo salt consumption due to processed, packaged foods. So restricting those, eating real foods and using Himalayan salt will help normalize your intake to healthy levels.
Potassium is a mineral that your body uses to relax artery walls, balance pH, prevent muscle cramping and lower blood pressure. Significant evidence shows that the key to normalizing blood pressure and protecting heart health is being more focused on sodium-potassium balance than eliminating salt. Here’s a clear picture of how this has changed over the years: our ancestors ate about 11,000 mg of potassium a day and 700 mg of sodium. People who eat a standard American diet consume about 2500 mg of potassium and 3600 mg of sodium, mostly from packaged, processed foods.
So salt isn’t the bad guy here as long as you choose the right quality, restrict or eliminate packaged processed foods and eat real, whole foods and pay more attention to your potassium-sodium ratio.
Were you aware of the difference between salt and sodium?
Want to see more articles like this? Subscribe to this blog (just click on “Follow”) and get each new post delivered to your email or feed reader. To follow me and get even more tips on how to live your life in 3-D, including improving your diet, choosing cutting edge nutritional products and effective weight loss strategies be sure to like me on Facebook here and here, sign up for my FREE weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report (and get a free gift!), follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!
Make gradual changes. Boost health, vitality and energy. Become your best YOU