What’s the Deal With Salt
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I know this topic might not sound interesting but a year ago, I learned some things about salt that I thought I’d share.
As with anything else in life, make sure you do your own research! These are my thoughts and opinions based on what I have learned (and I am a fallible human being). I am not a doctor and don’t claim to be!
Growing up, I was taught, “don’t eat too much salt!” Or maybe “if you eat too much salt you’ll end up with high blood pressure or have a heart attack!”
So I shied away from it and then I met someone who likes this condiment on every food.
As my journey into health progressed, I heard some conflicting things so I decided to learn more about salt and what the real truth is about salt!
Additionally, doesn’t it seem like we are told one thing only to be told later what we were told is wrong? So making sure we have a sound explanation when we choose to focus on changing or implementing a habit needs to be explored!
Wanna learn with me?
What is Salt
Sodium chloride is the scientific name for salt.
Salt is mined, found as deposits, or produced through the process of evaporation.
The table variety we are mostly associated with is bleached, ionized salt which is fortified with very little if any essential trace minerals, but iodine is added.
This is the salt we use in the shakers at restaurants and most likely in your kitchen (unless you’ve delved into this already!)
Here’s the problem: this refined, bleached variety looks uniform from shaker to shaker but is also laden with toxic chemicals. You see in order to bleach it and make it look the same from house to house is the process it undergoes to make it uniform; chemicals need to be used.
A few of these chemicals are aluminum, ferrocyanide, bleach, and anti-clumping agents.
Do you want your condiment along with a serving of toxic chemicals?
Why Ionized Salt
Ionized salt was introduced in 1924 to combat rising cases of conditions that were related to iodine deficiencies. Some of these conditions are goiter which is an enlarged thyroid gland along with other thyroid gland problems.
In most countries, this is a major health problem so putting iodine in it was a cheap way to address this.
Iodine is a trace mineral and is required in the body in small quantities. Iodine works in the thyroid as a component of thyroid hormones.
The daily requirement for adult men and women is 150 micrograms. For children and nursing women, this number changes.
A healthy adult has about 15-20 milligrams of iodine present within the body at one time. Of this, 60% is stored in the thyroid gland.
Remember: everyone’s body is uniquely different so the amount of iodine each person needs may differ slightly.
There is a balance though between getting too little and too much iodine, and this seems to be in direct relation to using iodinated salt.
An interesting fact is the body is more receptive to natural sources of iodine versus man-tampered versions. To again confirm a point, your body needs iodine but getting it through our salt might not be the best.
While it’s not the norm, too much iodine can also cause problems.
Those who struggle with thyroid problems might require more or less depending on their unique situation, so working with a doctor is important!
We need iodine in our bodies but natural sources are always going to be far superior.
Some symptoms of deficiency:
- Trouble producing saliva
- Trouble digesting
- Dry mouth
- Swollen salivary glands
- Muscle pains and weakness
- Skin problems
Additionally, to reiterate, too much can cause thyroid disease and dysfunctions, but too little can also cause deficiency.
Why Are People Deficient
People can be deficient when not eating whole foods, eating processed foods that are filled with chemicals, and food grown in soils depleted of iodine.
The above sentence is really the Standard American Diet in a nutshell.
We aren’t eating the foods our grandparents and great-grandparents ate. How much of the food we consume wouldn’t be recognizable to our past relatives?
Would they know what a Cheeto was or an ice cream drumstick?
The good news is that we can change our diets and add in some iodine-rich food which our bodies will prefer. (More on those foods later!)
Let’s Not Ditch Salt, but Let’s Ditch Iodized Salt
Here’s the deal: our bodies need sodium (and chloride). It helps the body maintain the level of fluids within and also is within the channels between nerves, and helps with nerve signals. Sodium is an energy carrier and chloride also works within the nervous system!
Our bodies also need iodine because it also has an important job to do.
The problem is we are eating so much salty processed food which is so far removed from the food of our ancestors that this is causing blood pressure issues and a host of other conditions relating to diet.
God created naturally -occurring salt and iodine-rich foods.
By bringing it into the lab and adding to it, we have created a product that is substandard from that which God created.
Here’s the reason why you want trace minerals in your seasoning. They elevate the pH in the body and lower blood pressure. So in tandem, these minerals all work together which makes it better for the body!
When you hear the word, electrolytes, this is what they are talking about. All the minerals your body needs to function. When we get dehydrated, our blood pressure and blood volume go down. The doctor will suggest electrolytes or if it’s really bad, an IV bag of those trace minerals.
Want to Learn about Real Salt?
If you visit your local health food store, there are lots of options for this particular condiment.
I’ll give you a quick 411 about some of the more popular varieties you will encounter!
Redmond Real Salt
This brand is an all-natural sea salt that comes from our underground salt deposit in central Utah, within the United States!
There are 60+ trace minerals in this brand. No adding or subtracting!
Celtic Sea Salt
This grayish-looking salt is usually from France, although other varieties are harvested from around the world according to their website.
The process of harvesting is based on methods 2000 years old.
This salt has high moisture content and a number of trace minerals similar to that present in the sea.
Chefs highly prize this salt for its flavor.
This pink variety mined in Pakistan comes from ancient sea beds within the Himalayan mountains. The deeper the mined salt, the more expensive it is.
This variety has 84 trace minerals and low moisture content. (Our naturopathic doctor recommends this salt first!)
This seasoning variety has more iodine than the other types, but not enough for the daily allowance so adding the iodine-rich foods to your diet would be ideal!
Many say this particular brand is the key to maintaining good health, but you will have to be the judge of that!
Iodine-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet
If you’re like me and don’t want to supplement with iodine but rather incorporate foods into your diet, here are some examples of food to add!
- Leafy greens
- Sweet Potatoes
- Organic Corn
- Lima beans
Now You Know More About Salt
So as you can see, there is a variety of foods you can add to your diet to help naturally supplement your iodine needs.
Of course, if you struggle with any thyroid issues, it’s best to work with a medical professional to make sure you’re meeting your “recommended daily allowance.”
One other idea I did read about was being in the habit of doing Epsom salt baths which can also help get those trace minerals into your body!
I hope you learned a little bit about the whys and hows of this common condiment. The bottom line is we need salt, iodine, and trace minerals in our bodies. There are other ways to get these minerals in, without having to use iodized salt.
Perhaps we can find better health by trying another way because, at the end of the day, we are all unique. Our bodies aren’t one size fits all.
Your health can only change when you educate yourself and make informed choices!
Listed below are some of these products!
Himalayan Chef Pink Himalayan Salt, Fine Grain – 1 lbs (1 Pound Bag)The Spice Lab Himalayan Salt – Coarse 2.2 Lb / 1 Kilo – Pink Himalayan Salt is Nutrient and Mineral Dense for Health – Gourmet Pure Crystal – Kosher & Natural CertifiedRedmond Real Salt – Ancient Fine Sea Salt, Unrefined Mineral Salt, 26 Ounce Pouch (2 Pack)Redmond Real Sea Salt – Natural Unrefined Gluten Free Kosher, 10 Ounce ShakerRedmond Real Sea Salt – Natural Unrefined Gluten Free Fine, 0.21 Ounce Pocket Shaker (6 Pack)Celtic Sea Salt Light Grey Celtic Large Grinder, Sea Salt, 3 Ounce (Pack of 2)Light Grey Celtic coarse sea salt, 1 lb. bag – Pack of 2Celtic Sea Salt Flower of the Ocean Glass Shaker, 3 Ounce