To salt or not to salt- that really is the question..
For as long as I can remember, I have been extra careful with the amount of salt that I add to my food and I have become conscious of the amount of salt in my food, always choosing the lower sodium option. Growing up, my mom always added salt to the food as she cooked it and as kids, we were never allowed free range with the salt cellar, so I became used to eating food as it was presented. I always balk at the sight of my husband adding salt to his food that I lovingly prepared, without even tasting it first! And yes, I would get on my high horse and tell everyone they need to cut down on salt because well, because salt is bad for you, right?
But what if all of this is wrong? What if salt is more beneficial than it is detrimental? I recently watched an interview with Dr James DiNicolantonio, a well respected cardiovascular research scientist and doctor of pharmacy at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri. He has published more than 200 scientific papers and is well known and respected both nationally and internationally and is the author of the book The Salt Fix. In the interview, he discussed athletic performance and the benefit of salt and it sure got me thinking, and rethinking my attitude towards salt.
So, of course, I started doing some reading- looking at the pros and cons of our humble salt and here are some things I discovered
- Sodium is an essential nutrient in the body, responsible for vital cell function. It cannot be made by the body and has to be consumed.
- Not all salt is created equally. Not only do we have have the common garden variety of regular refined table salt which is sodium and chloride and possibly iodine if it has been iodised, but we can also choose from a variety of unrefined salts such as Pink Himalayan Salt, Sea Salt, Celtic Salt and Redmond Real Salt. While all of these unrefined salts still have the basic sodium and chloride make up, they all contain roughly 60 additional important trace minerals vital to our cellular functions
- We lose salt when we have caffeine and when we exercise- 1 hour of exercise can cause 1 tsp of salt loss and if you are drinking 4 cups of coffee a day you may lose 1 tsp of salt a day.
- Studies have shown too little salt can possibly lead to increased insulin resistance and weight gain, can increase triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, decrease bone health and may cause chronic fatigue
- Many studies cite that while consuming too much sodium can potentially be harmful to the body, consuming too little salt is more harmful.
- Salt is a natural antihistamine, it improves metabolism, supports thyroid health and reduces stress hormones
- Do not rely on processed food for your sodium needs- these foods come packed with preservatives and sugars that you definitely do not need. Choose real, good wholesome food that needs to be prepared from scratch and add your salt to taste.
Definitely some food for thought and my research and reading has gotten me off my low sodium high horse and I have switched my refined table salt for an unrefined salt and now dinner time in my house is no longer clouded with hard feelings when my hubby salts his food that I lovingly prepared (from scratch) for him.