A new myth I would like to debunk here is about... Salt.
Today, I would like to talk about Salt, one of our body’s most essential compound.
Why has it been so demonized? Where does this belief come from?
If you look into the research and the different studies that have been made, you will soon understand that unrefined natural salt is actually a nutritional treasure, and that low-salt diets are actually quite harmful to your health.
As usual, let’s have a look at how Salt was considered thousands of years ago….
Salt has always been very important in humans’ life. The ancient Romains used to trade salt to pay people. This is actually where the word “salary” itself comes from (same root as sal-t).One ounce of gold and one ounce of salt were even traded with the same price by Ancient explorers. They knew how precious this natural compound was and that’s why natural salt was so much valued at that time.
1. The essential vital functions of Salt
- Salt is a major component of blood plasma. It plays a key role in the lymphatic fluids, extracellular fluids and amniotic fluid.
- Salt is crucial to carry nutrients in and out of all cells
- Salt helps manage and regulate blood pressure
- Salt helps increase the glial cells in the brain. Those cells are responsible for your creative thinking and long-term planning
- Salt is essential for a good communication between the brain and the muscles. It allows you to move on demand, especially thanks to the Sodium / Potassium ion exchange.
2. Difference between common white table salt and natural unrefined salt
Today, more than 80% of the Salt consumed in average in the US comes from processed foods.
And that’s bad news, because this type of salt is completely different to what natural unrefined Salt can offer as benefits.
Common white table salt, and in general, salt in processed foods, contains approximately 98% of sodium chloride. The rest - 2% - is made of man-made harmful chemicals like moisture absorbents, sometimes added iodine, anti-caking agents, ferrocyanide, aluminosilicate or even toxic fluoride…
On another hand, Natural unrefined salt, for the same volume, contains just 84% of sodium chloride. The 16% rest is made of other naturally occurring minerals and essential trace minerals like silicon, phosphorus, vanadium, sulfate, magnesium, potassium, calcium, bicarbonate, strontium… It shows how much richer and nutrient-dense natural salt is.
And here I am especially going to talk about Pink Himalayan Salt.
This salt has been formed by marine fossil over 250 Million years ago all over Asia: from China to Nepal, Myanmar, Pakistan, Bhutan, Afghanistan or India.
This salt is extremely pure, free from any heavy metals and free from today’s industrial toxins because it’s been protected by a protective layer of lava for millions of years, while the sea salts were being crystallized. Many experts claim that today, this is the purest salt on Earth.
Its natural pink/red/white color is due to its rich content in minerals (more than 84) and iron.
It is hand-mined, hand-washed and therefore minimally processed. That’s why it is such a rich health source that plays a role in many different essential functions of your body.
So you see, common white table salt and natural unrefined salt don’t have much in common.
3. Where the “bad salt” myth comes from
Salt has been demonized after a study in the 90s came out. This study linked Salt consumption with Hypertension. They analyzed the blood pressure of people having a low-salt diet compared to a more “average” diet, richer in salt (usually from processed foods). What was overlooked, is that the low-salt diet was essentially LOW IN SUGAR, and more particularly, LOW IN FRUCTOSE. So the decrease in hypertension has been quickly linked to the low-salt consumption, and the fact that sugar was drastically diminished was completely ignored from the final analysis. The result? A misleading and unfunded conclusion that Salt increases the risk of hypertension.
Today we know that one of the major causes of hypertension is excess sugar, and more particularly fructose. Blaming salt instead of sugar in this study has caused many years of misinformation. So yes, it was time to debunk that myth.
Hypertension and Insulin Resistance are common threads between obesity, type 2 Diabetes, gout, heart disease or stroke. And we know that the primary cause is SUGAR.
4. Low levels of Sodium can be dangerous
Too low levels of sodium can actually be potentially very harmful to your health. This condition is called hyponatremia.
Sodium is an electrolyte that is responsible for many critical biological processes. When the levels of sodium in the blood get too low, the body’s fluids start increasing and all cells start swelling up.
The main causes are: medication, dehydration, too much water intake during sport activities, some diseases (liver, kidneys or thyroid related mainly).
Female hormones have a big impact on women’s ability to regulate sodium’s levels. Therefore, pre- and post-menopause women are at larger risk of hyponatremia, which can actually damage the brain function more particularly.
Regarding the elderly, a study showed that amongst large bone fractured persons, the incidence of hyponatremia was MORE THAN DOUBLE compared to non-fractured patients. This definitely shows that good salt levels is essential for elderly health, more particularly for bones health.
5. The health benefits of natural unrefined salt
These are the main benefits of natural salt, especially pink Himalayan salt:
- Helps improve the absorption of nutrients from your food through the intestines’ walls
- Helps decrease the risk of kidney stones and gallbladder stones
- Helps stimulate circulation and decrease blood pressure
- Helps improve overall bone health
- Helps regulate PH balance, therefore preventing disease and normalizing your energy levels
- Helps relieve muscle cramps
- Helps balance out sleep, blood sugar levels and heart health
- Helps support adrenal glands, therefore balancing out dozens of vital hormones levels
6. The importance of Potassium / Sodium ratio
This ratio is actually what counts the most. It plays an essential role in preventing mainly:
- Heart disease
- Ulcers and stomach cancer
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Our Ancient Ancestors ratio would be about 16 (11,000 mg of Potassium for 700mg of Sodium), and today, if we look at the average modern diet, this ratio is literally upside down. And this is mainly due to the amount of processed foods and processed salt that are being consumed every single day.
There is no secret: by eating a diet based on whole, unprocessed foods, and organic in order to ensure an optimal nutrient content, you decrease your risk of putting this crucial ratio out of balance.
Potassium plays a key role in bone mass, nervous system, muscle function, Adrenals….
The richer foods in potassium are:
- Backed potato (but beware as it is very starchy and can increase insulin resistance)
- Lima beans
- Winter squash
- Cooked spinach
- Broccoli, Brussels sprouts
As I said a lot of times already….. TRUST NATURE.
Natural Unrefined Salt is GOOD and even ESSENTIAL for your overall health. Today, Pink Himalayan salt is the purest and the most mineral-dense you can find. Don’t underestimate how much your body needs it, especially if you are chronically fatigued and feeling weak in general.
Adding a pinch of this pink salt to your daily water intake is a great way to increase the mineral content of this water.
To keep your Potassium/Sodium ratio balanced, avoid all processed foods and choose nutrient-dense organic whole foods. Vary your foods to get the most benefits of all of them.
As usual, avoid chemical “foods” made in labs. Ultra-processed “foods” like common white table salt are poison. So yes you should avoid those. But you should definitely choose better ones and enjoy the tasty benefits that Nature is offering you.
In Health and Happiness,