Is Salt Bad For You?

Is Salt Bad For You?

You've heard it on the news for years now, salt is bad for you. Fast food has too much salt and you should do everything you can to reduce salt intake. 

So, what's in the news now- salt is GOOD for you? What? How can that be?  First you hear salt is bad for you, then salt is good for you, it's so confusing!

I want to help straighten it out, and clear things up. 

Salt aka Sodium Chloride and also written as NaCl comes to us, the consumer in various forms. 

Table salt, which is the main salt you find at the grocery store, IS bad for you, or at the very least isn't good for you. During mass production, including heating to high temperatures,  minerals have been removed and it has lost most of its health benefits. Its main purpose is to provide flavour to your food, not nutrients for your health.   This type of salt has additives such as ant- clumping agents and other chemicals for color, for moisture and other reasons. Your body does not recognize this type of salt as food, and it may contribute to hypertension, fluid retention, electrolyte imbalance and autoimmune disorders. This salt is the reason why salt has been given a bad name and is considered bad for you. 

But, salt is full of necessary minerals, important to our health, and we need between 1/2 gram to 3 grams per day to stay healthy. The average person consumes between 12 to 18 grams per day! This is not only the salt you sprinkle onto your meals, but because salt is added to all of the processed foods including fast food, canned foods, processed meats, snacks like chips and even salad dressings. Almost any packaged food you buy has added salt to it. This is another reason salt has a bad name, we consume way too much of it!

Good quality salt is pure, and does not have any chemical additives. This pure salt provides our nervous, digestive and immune systems necessary nutrients to do their jobs. Salt is very alkalizing to the body, and stimulates digestive juices which in turn helps our body digest foods properly. Good quality salt is full of naturally occurring minerals including sodium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, iron, iodine, manganese and zinc among others. Good quality salt has been found to actually reduce blood pressure not increase it! Good quality salt has a list of health benefits so long I won't go into it all here, but all those naturally occurring minerals do wonders for your health. 

In my opinion, your best bet is to stay AWAY from grocery store table salt- as it has little to no health benefits and has likely already been added in higher doses to many of the foods we eat than what we need. Instead, visit your local health food store for alternatives. Salt has come from one of two sources- either mining(more recently), or from evaporation of seawater(more traditionally). Look for a salt which has had little to no processing and includes all the naturally occurring minerals, which are necessary for many body functions. 

Kinds of healthy salts that I like: 

Himalayan Pink Salt- this salt is a pure, hand-mined salt that is derived from ancient sea salt deposits, and it is believed to be the purest form of salt available. It has all the trace minerals that our bodies need. This salt has been called 'pink gold'.  This one is the favoirite in my family. 

Celtic Sea Salt- unprocessed pure salt full of natural minerals. This salt has been called 'white gold'. 

You can click these salt images for more info, or to purchase. Or stop by your local health food store, they are sure to have it as well. 

Both of these above salts you might find stronger in taste than table salt, but you will find you need less, enjoy it more and it contains less sodium than regular table salt.  

This photo(below) was taken in Bonaire (little island in the Caribbean where I used to live) of huge piles of salt! Evaporated from the Caribbean ocean and dried and ready to be used. 

What type of salt do you have at your table?  I would love to hear!

Gaylene Gomez, NNCP, C.H.N.