To Salt or Not To Salt?
Salt is essential to life, you can't live without it. They type of salt you use can make all the difference. Unrefined natural salt is important to many biological processes that include:
- A major component of your blood plasma, lymphatic fluid, extracellular fluid
- Carrying nutrients into and out of the cells
- Helping the lining of blood vessels to regulate blood pressure
- Regulating nerve impulses
- Helping the brain to send communication signals to the muscles
Too much salt can hurt you as with most things. There is too much sodium in processed foods. All salts are not created equal. Table salt is sodium chloride. Most people don't realize that there are differences between common refined table salt and natural, unrefined salt. One will damage your health and the other can actually be healing.
Table salt undergoes a lot of processing. It's about 98% sodium chloride and the rest is chemicals like iodine and moisture absorbents. Unrefined salt is 84% sodium chloride and 16% other naturally occurring minerals including many trace minerals like silicon, phosphorus and vanadium. If you want your body to function properly, you need a balanced salt that has all the minerals and is free of pollutants. So you can see that there is a difference. In order for your body to try to metabolize processed salt, it must use lots of energy. It can keep you from an ideal fluid balance and overburden your elimination system. This can cause an imbalance of fluid in the cells. So this can cause fluid to accumulate in your tissues and contribute to things like; cellulite, arthritis, gout, and kidney stones. Some of the preservatives contain things like aluminum which may contribute to Alzheimer's disease.
The American Heart Association suggests limiting your sodium consumption to about 1,500 mg. day to decrease your risk for high blood pressure and weight gain but the CDC reports that less than 10% meet this limit and many are consuming more than 7,000 mg. per day. This is about 3 teaspoons!
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition considers a product high in sodium if it has more than 500 mg per 100 mg. serving. The foods that are highest in sodium are processed meats which can contain up to 800 mg. a serving! You definitely need to reduce this sodium. People with congestive heart failure need to maintain strict levels of sodium.
Years ago people salt was the only way to preserve food. It kills bacteria that causes food to spoil. Nowadays, we use chemical preservatives and refrigeration and salt may be added to improve taste in HUGE amounts in processed food. It's used in lunch meats and cheese to extend shelf life. Sodium can also be another component in other ingredients like; MSG, baking soda, sodium benzoate, sodium nitrate, etc.
Can your sodium level be too low? Since salt is essential to good health, you need an all natural source. One example is Himalayan salt which contains 84 minerals. There is also Celtic Sea Salt with minerals and trace minerals to balance the body. These salts are delicious and taste better. You can also use these salts as a bath soak, sinus flush or throat gargle to stay healthy!
Bottom line is that we all need some salt for health and mineral balance but the type of salt you choose can make all the difference. It's all about balance, education and a willingness to make changes. You can even lower blood pressure with lifestyle changes and get off medication in the long run. It's never too late!
Karen Russell, Certified Nutrition Health Coach Recipe 4 Wellness http://www.recipe4wellness.com
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