Have you ever heard of REAL salt? “Real salt, as opposed to what?” you say? As opposed to what most people unsuspectingly use in their cooking and at the table. It might surprise you (it sure did me) but in its natural form, salt is not sparkly white or free flowing. Actually, the “table salt” most folks are familiar with has been bleached, refined, and mixed with anti-caking agents and iodine.
Many so-called “table salts” also contain sugar, in the form of dextrose—meant to cover or disguise an otherwise harsh and bitter flavor. In fact, a quick glance at the ingredients label on most “table salt” products should cause some questioning. Why the flip do the manufacturers have to add calcium silicate or sodium silicoaluminate, dextrose, and potassium iodide to perfectly fine sodium chloride? Whose stupid idea was this, anyway?
By contrast, REAL salt (sold under a few different labels such as REAL SALT, 4 Spectrum Deep Sea Salt, Nutra Salt, Celtic Sea Salt, Gamma Himalayan Crystal Salt and so on), is real salt, unrefined and natural—free from any additives or chemicals of any kind.
OK, but so what—doesn’t everyone know salt causes high blood pressure? So what difference does it make which salt I use—I’m better off not using any, aren’t I? Well, according to research, and I’ll quote one of the researchers, Ann Louise Gittleman, N.D., M.S., there’s lots of dispute over this “salt causes high blood pressure” belief. There’s really not enough data to back it up.
What scientists and doctors DO know is that sodium is crucial for maintaining the health of every cell in the human system. It permeates the fluid between cells (often called the ‘extracellular fluid’) and potassium exists mainly on the inside of the cells (in the “intracellular fluid’). If either of these minerals is deficient or in excess, cell permeability becomes compromised and the health of all cells suffer.
Besides being a component of extracellular fluid that bathes every living cell, sodium is important in two other ‘salty oceans’ in the body—our blood and our lymphatic fluid. It is also necessary for the production of hydrochloric acid, the digestive enzyme secreted by the stomach in order to digest protein. Along with potassium, sodium is required for the proper functioning of our nerves and the contraction of our muscles.
“With the many crucial roles sodium plays, it’s clear that if we had no sodium, we would cease to exist,” Gittleman says. She also notes that reducing sodium too much can be just as harmful as consuming large amounts of it. Too little can cause spasms, poor heart rhythms, sudden death and even increase the risk of heart attack in hypertensive patients.
So the bottom line? We’re sure not suggesting that you start loading on the salt. But we are suggesting “Moderation in ALL things” — even in the use of salt. The stand I take is as always: Whatever we put into our bodies ought to be natural and wholesome. Why would we deliberately ingest junky stuff the body doesn’t need or like?
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