In recent years, salt has been demonized as contributing to adverse conditions including heart disease and hypertension, and many a health-conscious individual has developed the mindset that meals should contain little to no salt.
While an overabundance of processed salt can indeed be detrimental, sodium is essential to the human body, so the key is the type of salt, rather than salt itself. Real, unprocessed salt actually contributes greatly to health, rather than deterring from it.
The type of salt that has gained a bad reputation for all salt is table salt. This is the form of salt that is most often found in many homes, but it is entirely commercially produced. Table salt is a manmade refined product.
The refining process removes many of the vital nutrients that naturally occur in salt and adds several chemicals in the process. The list of chemical additives includes: fluoride, chemical bleach, potassium iodide, monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium bicarbonate and solo-co-aluminate.
Table salt is associated with a wide range of significant health problems. It has been pointed to as a contributor to high blood pressure and weight gain. It is also thought to contribute to developing type 2 diabetes, gout and water retention or edema.
Table salt can also contribute to muscle spasms and cramps as it dehydrates the body. It is also thought to contribute to affect mood and be a factor in depression and anxiety.
By contrast, unrefined sea salt is a naturally occurring mineral. It is harvested from evaporated sea water and is only heated by the sun as it dries. No trace minerals are lost in the process of making sea salt. Trace minerals contained in sea salt include: sulphur, calcium, sodium, magnesium, silicon, boron, potassium, bromine and strontium.
Sea salt also has many health benefits in addition to providing necessary trace minerals. It can help with weight loss efforts, sooth irritated skin and reduce asthma symptoms. Regular consumption of sea salt can also improve blood sugar levels and regulate heart health.
It also improves mood and can help with muscle cramps and treat dehydration.
You can find many kinds of unrefined salt right in the store, but check the label, it must say “unrefined” – some sea salts are still refined.
We like to use AztecSeaSalt,which is not sold in stores. We know for a fact that it is high-quality, unrefined, and loaded with the good minerals and nutrients you need. Learn more about AztecSeaSalt here.
Another example of real, nutritious salt is Himalayan salt. It is raw, pure, and contains important minerals including phosphorus, vanadium and silicon. It provides the body a natural source of sodium without the processing and chemicals.
Here are four important reasons to embrace real, unrefined, mineral-rich salt as part of your nutritious diet:
Your body needs salt to function
Sodium is essential to the body’s cellular metabolic processes, and also regulates the fluid surrounding the cells. It is also key to the proper function of the cardiovascular, nervous and digestive systems.
Eating unrefined, natural salt helps the body to transport nutrients between the cells, assists the brain in communicating with the muscular system and stabilizes blood pressure. It can even boost your creativity and stimulate your brain’s ability for long-term planning.
While the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day, the Institute of Medicine recommends at least 1,500 milligrams, just to replace the sodium the body loses through urination and sweat glands. The body needs approximately 500 milligrams of sodium per day just to stay alive.
Too little salt can cause significant damage
Sodium deficiency, also known as hyponatremia, can lead to serious complications. Just a few of the conditions that can arise from hyponatremia are loss of energy, kidney damage, brain swelling, heart failure, confusion, headaches, seizures and even coma.
You might be thinking to yourself that too much salt is just as dangerous, as it has been popularly associated with hypertension, heart disease and stroke. However, many of these associations are loose at best.
There is no solid scientific research linking salt intake with heart disease. As far as hypertension, sugar and excess grains may be far more to blame for this condition than sodium.
Problems may arise with sodium intake if your potassium levels are too low. Potassium is an important mineral which helps to balance out sodium in the body. If you eat an excess of salt and do not get enough potassium, hypertension is more likely.
Real salt provides important minerals and nutrition
One of the primary reasons why salt intake has been linked to disease is that over 80 percent of the salt consumed by Americans hails from fast foods and processed meals. This salt has been highly refined, has had much of its nutrients stripped, and often contains chemical additives. Some processed salts even contain added fluoride. This is a far cry from real, unrefined salt.
Warm salt water has an array of benefits
One great way to enjoy the benefits of real, mineral-rich salt is to drink a glass of warm salt water in the morning. The mixture of filtered water and unrefined salt is known as Sole, which comes from the Latin word for sun (sol). The best time to drink Sole is before breakfast.
Sole helps to support kidney function, especially in maintaining bodily fluid balance. When real salt is mixed with water, it is easily absorbed by the body. Drinking salt with water in the morning also helps your body to absorb water throughout the day, without extracellular fluid becoming over-diluted (which can happen if you drink too much water and do not consume enough salt).
This traditional morning beverage also promotes healthy digestion, can improve sleep quality and aids in detoxifying the body thanks to the antibacterial properties of natural salt. Sole also supports clear, healthy-looking skin, healthy veins and is a great addition to a balanced weight loss plan.
For more information on the benefits of Sole, plus how to make your own, check out our recent article.
The bottom line: salt has important health benefits, and is not an evil substance to be feared – just make sure you’re choosing real salt!
-The Alternative Daily
When shopping for sea salt, look for an unrefined sea salt. Unrefined sea salt retains all the natural minerals your body needs. The only sea salt we use in our kitchen is from Ava Jane’s Kitchen. Learn more and receive a special offer today!