Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Is Salt Really Bad for Us?

So how many of you have heard for years that you need to cut back or cut out your consumption of salt? How many have heard that there are actually benefits to salt or that this is essential for your health? It is difficult in these times to truly understand what is good or bad for us.

Many years ago our U.S. government issued warnings to the entire population that salt increases blood pressure and salt became known as the “silent killer”. This warning was based on studies of primitive cultures that had very low dietary salt intake and also did not have a prevalence o high blood pressure. The research concluded that salt must be the cause of hypertension in people living in modern cultures.

It now appears that the salt-hypertension link was over-exaggerated. The fact is, strict salt restriction is only necessary for about 10-15% of the population that is actually salt sensitive. For this group, restricting salt may help to keep their blood pressure from going higher but this does not mean that eating salt raises your blood pressure.

Looking closer at sodium it is important to understand that our need for sodium is regulated by many factors including behavior, physiological, psychological, neurological and hormonal. I even recognize with my clients over the years, that based on their individual bio-chemical needs, or Nutritional ID, sodium needs are much higher in what I refer to as a Protein Type and much lower in those referred to as a Veggie Type.

I feel that one of the biggest challenges with salt is the form of salt that is so readily available. Common table salt is basically sodium chloride with chemicals such as moisture absorbents and iodine that is dried at over 1,200 degrees, which alters the natural chemical structure of salt.

A pure form of Himalayan or Celtic Salt contains over 80 naturally occurring minerals that has a synergy to aid in the necessary balance in minerals. When we consume high amounts of sodium chloride without this synergy, this creates a mineral robbing effect within the body that may lead to functional imbalances.

Another factor that is so completely overlooked is your own taste buds. This is one of the most significant factors to create awareness within to understand exactly what your body is telling you. Many would suggest that they never crave salt but they regularly crave potato chips, tortilla chips or one of the many other deliveries for salt. I recommend paying attention to your salt cravings and adding salt; but please be sure to add a quality salt product to your daily nutritional routine.

To see the salt that we have in our pantry at home visit http://products.mercola.com/himalayan-salt/?aid=CD219


  1. Does the same apply to sea salt?

  2. Hello Tony,

    A minimally processed sea salt would be of a positive quality. Typically these salt grains are larger and may tend to hold moisture. If your sea salt looks, pours and stay dry in the same way conventional salt does, I would question the processing and additives.

  3. Thanks for the info Glen! How about Kosher salt?

  4. Hi Nat,

    You are welcome for the info.

    Typically kosher salt does not have additives and have bigger crystals with larger surface areas but some kosher salts do contain anti-clumping agents but the additive free is readily available. Not all kosher salts are derived from that sea and the mineral content beyond the sodium/chloride may vary.

    I would feel comfortable though recommending a high quality kosher salt that is additive free.

    One other tidbit is that the salt itself is not kosher; it is simply that it is used in the koshering process.