The shakedown on Salt: A Heart Healthy choice
The myth: That salt is salt, that there is no difference between table salt and sea salt.
Allow me to immediately dismiss this myth. Like most salt addicted Americans, I suffered from bouts of high blood pressure after eating. Sodium causing hypertension affects many Americans. The American Heart Association (Heart.org) states that “76.4 million US adults have high blood pressure.” High Blood Pressure or Hypertension can damage or weaken your arteries and can lead to kidney disease. And what is the first advice given by your cardiologist? Put down the salt. Sure, that would be great if we didn’t love our food so much.
But there is a solution, all natural Sea Salt. Not all salt is created equal. Table salt, at its core, is sea salt, either from modern oceans or ancient sea beds. Table salt has been demineralized and chemically processed. It has been refined, which means its highly processed, been bleached and stripped of naturally occurring trace minerals.
This means that the sodium chloride in table salt is highly concentrated, making it very bad for your health. Not to mention the unnatural additives like potassium-iodide, sugar and aluminum silicate.
You may think we need this unnatural additive of Iodide, which is supposed to help avoid iodine deficiency disease of the thyroid gland. Due to the unnatural levels in table salt, this can lead to hyperthyroidism, which is become a growing concern in America. Natural sea salt contains natural iodine, no additives necessary.
Why then, did America transition from sea salt to table salt? Well, apparently the aesthetics of pure white salt (same with sugar), which to maintain this all white salt, is to add anti-caking agents to increase its shelf life in this bleached state. The issue with adding preservatives which keeps salt from absorbing moisture interferes with one of salt’s main functions, to help regulate hydration in your body.
This is one source as to why Americans are becoming dehydrated in a modern age such as this. Look at your typical IV you get in the hospital to keep you hydrated, electrolytes from salt and potassium. Which you find naturally in sea salt which leads to better hydration, lower blood pressure, better overall health.
Sea salt in the raw, contains trace nutrients and minerals such as ionized sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, selenium, copper, iron, zinc, manganese to name a few. Natural sea salt is a source of over 21 essential and 30 accessory minerals.
Since natural sea salt contains no added chemicals or preservatives, and contains natural iodide, it is not only healthy for the heart, but the whole body. It regulates hydration in your body and your blood pressure.
You must know, that not all sea salt that you can purchase at the store are equal. At Wal-Mart, you can buy a processed version of sea salt. Not all natural, still has potassium-iodide added, but from table salt, a huge improvement.
One must understand that sea salt is NOT the bleached white, processed table salt we find in our shakers. Natural sea salt is colored, depending on where the salt comes from in the world, ranging from gray to a light rose color. Sea salt tends to be moist and coarse, but you can grind it finer, or purchase it ground fine.
I guess we should get to the important part, flavor. The flavor of sea salt far and wide exceeds that of table salt. The richness and depth of flavor adds so much more to your favorite dishes. It not only adds flavor but adds to your health.
About 8 years ago, I switched to sea salt due to hypertension experienced after meals. I was shocked at the immediate difference it made for my after meal experience. I no longer suffered from hypertension caused by concentrated sodium in my table salt. The affects were so immediate, I knew I had to look more into sea salt.
When I go to McDonald’s on occasion, I order my favorite burger with fries, I ask for “no salt fries”, and they will cook a fresh batch for you, and add no salt to your fries. I mention this as Wendy’s recently made the move to use sea salt with their fries. As you can image, I rushed out and ordered my favorite burger meal with these sea salt fries. While the sea salt wasn’t the unadulterated salt you find with all natural sea salt, it was a huge improvement, and more importantly, did not give me that after meal hypertension, I was accustomed to with table salt. Hats off to Wendy’s in their effort to be responsible for their consumers health.
Since table salt is so extremely concentrated in sodium, I could use the same amount of sea salt to replace my table salt in and on my dishes, and having no ill affects on my body. However, since sea salt is more flavorful, one can use less to maintain flavor.
There are many health benefits to sea salt besides not raising blood pressure. The trace minerals in sea salt help ease pain and heal skin. You can add it to your baths to help heal from acne, eczema, poison ivy and psoriasis. These trace minerals can also help promote cell health. Cell damage can lead to muscle spasms, brain damage and nervous disorders. Sea salt helps heal cells and helps control and balance the ions in our bodies cells.
If you experience water retention, you will see immediate improvement by using all natural sea salt.
When you are at the store looking to purchase sea salt, make sure you look at the labels. You want a sea salt that is unrefined, has no additives and contains natural trace minerals, naturally found in sea salt.
If you are using salt substitutes or low-sodium salts, you can switch to natural sea salt and maintain and improve your health. Natural sea salt does not increase blood pressure or make you retain water, when taken with moderation.
Dr. David Brownstein, author of “Salt – Your Way to Health” said “… a low-sodium diet is not only ineffective at controlling blood pressure, it is deleterious to the body. What conventional doctors and most mainstream organizations have failed to grasp is the difference between refined salt and unrefined salt. As mentioned previously, refined salt lacks minerals and causes acidosis (i.e. a lowered pH). Our bodies were meant to function optimally with adequate mineral levels and adequate salt intake. Only the use of unrefined salt can provide both of these factors.”
Dr Brownstein recommends Redmond’s “Real Salt” (as do I), which is from the ancient sea beds in Utah. You can buy natural sea salts from live oceans, but with today’s pollution, sea salts from an ancient unpolluted oceans is perhaps preferred.
Christine Avaness, author of “Living Beyond Organic” is quoted, saying “An excellent source of organic sodium, Real Salt is key to
alkalizing, detoxifying, and rejuvenating your whole body.”
I use Redmond’s “Real Salt” at home and on the farm. On the farm is a wholly separate and complex topic on its own. To summarize, it can be used to replace the mineral block for livestock, as it is all natural and more nutritious for your farm animals. It is also used to add to your garden soil to increase fertility, few ways can add so much nutrients as sea salt can.
You can purchase Redmond’s “Real Salt” or any all natural, unprocessed, unrefined, no chemical or preservative added sea salt from most health food stores, even some supermarkets and some Wal-Mart stores started carrying Real Salt by Redmond.
Your local farm/feed store carries Redmond’s sea salt in the 20, 40 or 50lb bags for livestock and soil.
Overall, sodium is an important part of building a healthy life, in balancing your bodies core systems. With natural sea salt you can have this healthier lifestyle without sacrificing flavor, nutrients or health.