With nicknames like “white death”, salt has been cast out as a dangerous additive to food by researchers and health professionals the world around. Consistently tagged with risks of high blood pressure and heart disease, salt is supposed to be avoided “like the plague”, for want of a better cliché. Have you ever wondered why? Perhaps you’ve now heard news that salt is good for you, and ultimately you’re confused as to which is the right answer. It’s a very typical story in the world of foodies and nutrition enthusiasts – conflicting opinions and information! Let me talk to this misconception for you.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, has numerous mechanisms of cause. One of them is increased fluid retention in the blood vessels. Consuming a whole lot of sodium chloride will cause increased fluid retention in the blood because the massive rise in circulating sodium causes fluid to be drawn out of the body’s tissues and into the blood. Ultimately this places a large stress on the cardiovascular system, which can be measured as an increased blood pressure.
When the salt that we eat is instead a naturally sourced and unrefined product like pink Himalayan salt, there is so much more to it than just a combination of sodium and chloride. The pretty pink colour is a very obvious indicator that there is an abundance of healthy trace elements and minerals that the body loves and thrives upon. These trace nutrients can actually help to balance out blood pressure, as well as improve energy levels, regulate circulation, prevent muscle cramps, aid detoxification and sleep, as well as provide natural anti-microbial properties. It’s yet another example of choosing foods that are as close to nature as possible in order to get the best out of them. I’d like to suggest sea salt as well, but the sad truth is that our oceans are becoming increasingly more polluted and contaminated, causing anti-nutrients to accumulate in salt from the sea. For this reason, I take caution in recommending sea salt.
While keeping in mind my only caveat – that quality salt is safe in a balanced diet – go ahead and enjoy the flavour that salt can add to your food! It’s also an excellent additive to my favourite natural sports drink – coconut water – as it effectively increases the sodium to performance boosting levels.
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