Salt and Sodium: Are They the Same Thing

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?

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About amusico

I am a holistic health coach and independent nutritional consultant. All my coaching plans are based on my 3-D Living program and a big part of that are the Youngevity Products and Supplements I proudly offer! Visit my website at http://www.threedimensionalvitality.com and learn more about the products and my coaching plans!
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8 Responses to Salt and Sodium: Are They the Same Thing

  1. JD Wininger says:

    As always, I appreciate your speaking truth into something that is so often mis-communicated by the medical profession and misunderstood by “Joe Public.” Enjoyed understanding how each of these minerals, in their natural forms, are helpful to our bodies. Thanks again Ms. Ann.

  2. Ivey Rorie says:

    I was aware of the difference because I have been reading about electrolytes. This was a good article. I didn’t find it preachy but informative. People are kinda sensitive about this topic for some reason. Here is the bit I am concerned about, and you touched on it. People often lack minerals. Many have become sensitive to the need for vitamin supplements but are ignoring minerals. I read somewhere, don’t remember where now, that we tend to be shorter in minerals than vitamins. I watch the electrolytes because of taxing my muscles and sweating. I think it is very important to put sodium, chloride and potassium back in my system. I really don’t worry about getting too much because I use it and my body can equalize the levels. I am much more concerned about having too little than too much. Have you heard of LMNT? Their “electrolyte” supplement is salt and they don’t hide the fact. It’s tasty too. I also like Celtic salt. I think I prefer it in fact but it is more difficult to find.

    • amusico says:

      Yes you hit an important point, Ivey. You can’t even metabolize vitamins properly without adequate minerals. We need them!!
      I have heard of LMNT. Actually my husband likes the Rebound from Youngevity and we just put an extra pinch of pink salt in it. Especially in the last few weeks where we had such incredible heat and humidity up here, it was a God-send for me. I notice that the heat tends to affect me very quickly if I am not hydrated enough and if I don’t stay hydrated.

  3. Debbie Wilson says:

    Ann, thanks for explaining the difference. Avoiding processed foods seems to be important in many ways.

  4. Holly Scherer says:

    I wasn’t entirely knowledgeable on salt vs sodium, although I knew they were different. Thanks for laying it out in a way that’s easy to understand.

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