You’d think so if the trendy food blogs could convince you…
Right now Pink Himalayan Salt seems to be “trending.” New-Age Chefs are pushing Kosher Salt and Sea Salt is everywhere.
What is certain is that we need some salt every day. This key mineral helps our bodies balance fluids. But most of us use far more than the recommended amount. We LOVE Salt!
Unfortunately, eating too much salt draws extra fluid into our blood vessels. In turn, this raises blood pressure along with our risks for the world’s two deadliest diseases: Heart Disease and Strokes.
That’s why a study published in the British Medical Journal demonstrated that substantially reducing salt intake has the potential to save millions of lives.
Eating too much salt can also leave us feeling heavy and bloated.
So what about all those alternative salts? Are natural salts better or not?
Many of us “get” the dangers of salt, which is what makes the alternatives, like sea salt, so tempting.
Manufacturers sprinkle sea salt liberally on chips and pretzels and throw a “natural” claim on the label. And we’re eating it up — literally.
➡ The expensive Kosher salt, which is an unrefined, colored salt is also mined from salt deposits but rarely has additives.
So…are natural salts better? Are the “unrefined” or less refined salts better for our health than highly refined table salt?
- Wherever it comes from, salt has the same amount of sodium chloride; the culprit blamed for so many heart attacks and strokes.
The “stepchild,” plain table salt, may be more refined, but it’s the only salt with adequate amounts of Iodine.
And, you NEED this nutrient Iodine for general health, especially for thyroid health.
- Iodine deficiency can lead to goiter (massive swelling of the thyroid gland).
In 1924, when Iodine was added to table salt, an outright epidemic of goiter in the U.S. was stopped. The numbers of those afflicted fell significantly.
Today, however, the rising popularity of all these specialty salts has some experts worried that goiter will again rear its ugly head.
How much is too much?
➡ The most sodium we should consume per day is 2,300 milligrams (about one teaspoon), yet Americans take in an average of 3,400 milligrams daily.
➡ The medical recommendation is even lower, no more than 1,500 milligrams daily (3/4 of a teaspoon).
Sodium consumption in the U.S. is extremely high right now, with 75% of the excess sodium in our diets coming from prepared and processed foods.
But there’s no guarantee it will happen, and the fast food industry uses salt in everything, including desserts…it keeps things fresh longer…
Meanwhile, if you have a family or personal history of high blood pressure or heart disease, or your Doctor has advised you lower your sodium intake, here’s what you can do.
➡ Avoid processed foods. Anything that comes in a box or that’s labeled “quick and easy” may be loaded with sodium.
➡ Ask restaurants to hold the salt. When dining out, ask that foods be prepared without adding salt.
➡ Always read labels. Pay special attention to soups and processed meats like deli meats, hot dogs, and ham. They’re packed with sodium.
➡ Buy salt-free snacks. Munch on crackers, nuts and other snacks that have no added salt.
➡ Flavor food with herbs. Hold the salt. Herbs won’t raise blood pressure, and many have anti-inflammatory benefits.