Salt Selection Matters
By Nancy Mehlert, MS
Salt is a flavor most of us really enjoy. Salt is life-giving. Every cell in your body relies on it for regulation of body fluids, bone density, blood sugar stabilization, good circulation and muscle and nerve function.
Naturally occurring salt is 40% sodium and 60% chloride. The chemical formula is NaCl. Sodium and chloride are both essential electrolytes your body requires. Sodium balance in the body is complex and impacted by magnesium, calcium, and potassium. If you change the level of one electrolyte, such as sodium, you are impacting the others. Balance is essential to your overall health. Most table salts and sodium in processed food do NOT contain the good stuff, but rather a manufactured salt which negatively impacts the delicate balance of electrolytes in the body.
Here’s the dirt on most common table salts:
- Most table salt today is heated and cooked at 1200°F. At this extremely high temperature, the salt loses more than eighty important alkaline elements that occur naturally in it, including natural iodine, leaving just pure sodium chloride. Then it is chemically bleached to make it white.
- Other chemicals often added in table salt including manufactured forms of fluoride, anti-caking agents and toxic amounts of potassium iodide and aluminum derivates, as well as white sugar and mono-sodium-glutamate (MSG). This is what you find in processed food and table salt.
- As a result, sometimes table salt can be literally toxic to the human body.
- It is found in virtually every processed and fast food in the marketplace today. Typically, bread, fast food, and frozen meals have the largest quantities.
Processed table salt wreaks havoc in the human body, especially over time. Here’s how:
- Causes a rapid rise in blood pressure as the body attempts to move the toxic elements away from the heart.
- Causes fluid retention and is hard on the circulatory, nervous, and lymph system.
- Chronic imbalances contribute to and/or worsen diabetes, gout, and obesity.
- Additives in salt can cause major kidney, thyroid, and liver problems, goiter, hypertension, heart disease, strained elimination systems, muscle cramps, edema, stroke, heart failure, PMS, and major nervous system disorders such as anxiety and depression.
- It is highly addictive as the chemical additives are designed to stimulate pleasure centers of the brain, in the same way sugar does this.
So, what’s your best option? Usually, normal use of high-quality table salt along with a whole food diet will not invite issues with blood pressure, water retention, or cardiovascular disease. However, surprisingly, sea salt may not be the answer. As a result of plastics polluting the oceans, sea salt has been found to contain microplastic particles. This leaves the optimal choice to be Himalayan salt, which is mined from salt beds created long before plastic and other toxic chemicals were manufactured. Himalayan salt contains at least 80 naturally occurring trace elements which are beneficial to our health.
Be cautious when you make your purchase as there are cheap knock offs. Two brands that appear to be authentic and pure are Evolution Salt Company (harvested in the Himalayas), and Redmond’s Real Salt (sea salt harvested from a pristine ancient sea near Redmond, Utah). Most people need about 1.5 teaspoons, or 3500mg of sodium a day. Quality salt along with vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, will provide a balance of electrolytes and essential minerals for the day.
Group, Edward., (2017). The Health Dangers of Table Salt. Global Healing Center. https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/dangers-of-salt/
Mercola, Joseph., (2018). Ninety Percent of Sea Salt Contains Plastic. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2018/10/31/sea-salt-plastic.aspx
Mercola, Joseph., (2022). Do You Know the Difference Between Salt and Sodium?