Food for Thought - Are You Sabotaging Your Health with What You Eat? Part 3 - Salt

By Karla Jones Seidita, Home Economist

Salt is an important nutrient.    It regulates our body functions.

So how come everyone in this country is on a salt free or salt restricted diet when the rest of the world seems to be worrying about not getting ENOUGH salt?

Many people, doctors included, believe that salt is not a problem. 
What did I just say?     Salt is not a problem.... not bad for you? 
Everyone knows that when you have high blood pressure you have to cut back on (and even cut out) salt.

Now, I'm not telling you to go against your doctor's instructions but here's something to think about.....
The salt we eat in this country is highly refined.  This means it has none of the usual trace nutrients that are normally found in salt  (it's like how we strip away the nutrients from whole wheat when we turn it into white flour.....).   It's these trace nutrients that are believed make all the difference.

Too much refined salt plays havoc with our metabolic path ways.
Unrefined salt has a slew of trace nutrients that keeps every thing in balance.

And because our salt is so refined, it makes a great, cheap preservative.  It's widely used in prepared foods because it doesn't change the taste or color of the foods and consumers prefer to see "salt" on a label than a chemical sounding, multi-syllabic preservative.    

Medications, by the way, can also contain lots of NaCl (refined salt).

So what should you do?

1.  If you are under a doctor's care and have been told to cut back or cut out salt, talk things over with him or her. You have to be responsible for your health.

2.  If you're not under a doctor's care, it's easy to make some healthy changes to your diet.  Switch from regular salt to unrefined sea salt.  It's available everywhere and is probably right on the same shelf with your regular salt.   I like the "Celtic" brand but there are lots out there to choose from.  What you want is dehydrated sea water.

3.  Eat less prepared and/or packaged food.  It's loaded with refined salt - even if it doesn't taste salty.  Cook from scratch and you can say how much and what kind of salt you put into recipes.

Unless your doctor instructs you otherwise, moderate amounts of unrefined sea salt is part of a healthy diet.

Who knew salt was a healthy thing to eat!!



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