Salt: friend or foe?
There is nothing more bittersweet than our love for salt. We fear it, yet we can’t get enough of it. It’s what made the bacon you had for breakfast so addictive, the hotdog you had for lunch so mouth-watering and the salad you had for dinner so, so good.
You know what they say – “unhealthy food always tastes the best,” but is salt really that bad for you? Your immediate answer to this question might be “YES,” considering all you’ve seen in the media or heard from your doctors. Salt is essential for alkalizing the blood and tissues. Yet, it has been incriminated, tainted and labeled as the ultimate health destroyer for decades – and they’re not necessarily wrong. That’s because the so called salt we have on the market today is more S.O.D.I.U.M than salt.
It’s about time we gave salt a fair trial, piece all the facts together and come up with the best verdict.
Salt in The Past
First, let’s go back to when salt was really salt. Salt in the past was nothing like what is being sold today. It was valued liked gold and contained traces of different minerals,such as; calcium, iodine, and magnesium; which are removed from modern salt. More than half century ago, many popular salt manufacturers in America started using large kilns to dry salt. This way additional heat (up to 1,200 °F) is added to speed up the evaporation altering the chemical composition of the salt.
The end result is what we call salt today. Many medical professionals have stated that this chemical alteration is the reason why salt is said to cause heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and arthritis among other health issues. Most manufacturers will add iodine to “fortified” table salt but it’s still not up to par. Aside from the mineral content, olden salt also dissolves more easily in body fluids compared to modern salt which tends to accumulate in your tissues and organs.
Excess Sodium Consumption
Before we start pointing fingers at salt, you should first understand that, sodium and salt are not the same, though they are often used interchangeably and can cause the same health issues in excess. So who’s the culprit and who’s being framed? For starters, sodium is the sixth most abundant natural compound on Earth and we consume it not only from table salt but also from common food items.
The trick is, it tends to hideout in unlikely places; like your medication, milk, eggs, cantaloupe, and sandwich bread. You’re probably unaware of the amount of sodium you consume on a daily basis. Most of the time its double or god forbid triple the amount you think you’re eating.
Take bacon for instance, the most common breakfast delicacy, a 3.5 oz. serving is packed with 1,021 mg of sodium. Pair it with an equal serving of Parmesan cheese and you will be consuming 2883 mg of sodium in one seating. If you’re like me who enjoys snacking on chips, crackers or pretzels from convenience stores, then you have even bigger problems. It’s this excess sodium that you consume from your daily meals that’s causing the problem. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention more than 75% of the sodium we eat comes from processed food.
Nutritionists recommend that we consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium from our daily meals or better yet ½ teaspoon of salt. Yet only one out of every ten Americans manages to stay within this boundary. Since most of the sodium we consume comes from processed foods (75%), rather than salt shakers at restaurants, the quickest way to start lowering your sodium intake is by sweeping your refrigerator clean of all the frozen foods and ditching the canned foods in the cupboard.
Optimal Alkalinity, Minus the Baggage
Maintaining optimal alkalinity is not grounded on overindulging in salty foods. We as humans have learnt that adding unrefined salt in our daily meals leads to optimal alkalinity. In a nutshell, optimal alkalinity is essential if you want to live a healthy, energetic life.
Below are a few tips on how you can limit the amount of sodium you consume and still maintain optimal alkalinity. Yup! It’s possible, and you don’t have to forgo everything delicious.
Ditch Refined Salts For The Real Deal – A Mineral Rich Choice
Naturopaths suggest that you purchase unrefined salt that is rich in minerals instead of refined salt. Most popular brands such as Real Salt, Himalayan Salt, and Celtic Sea Salt will carry the same minerals. These manufacturers have adopted the processing styles of our ancestors, bringing back the “clear white crystal” that is beneficial to the body. Real Salt and Himalayan are processed from a sea bed in Redmond Utah and Pakistan respectively using ancient methods.
Greens, Greens and More Greens
Of course too much of anything is never good, but when it comes to alkalinity, you need to stock up on spinach, spirulina, barley leaf, chlorella, kale and other greens. Green veggies and fruits work to combat acids by balancing your pH levels and promote optimum alkalinity. They are the best alkalizers on the market and if you’re not a “vegetable lover” you can always blend them together to make a nutritious drink.
If you want to skip the hard work you can opt for green supplements. Green+ is a popular supplement from Genuine Health and it’s sweetened with Stevia so it’s perfect for those of you with a sweet tooth. PhD Pharma Greens is another tasty brand available in a lemon or strawberry flavor, whichever you prefer. Cyto Greens is also a good supplement but the flavor isn’t that spectacular. The best thing to do is to shop around until you find a flavor that is to your liking.
Know What You Are Buying
Most of the time we just go off the picture we see on the food at the supermarket rather than scrutinizing the label. This is not a good habit. Reading the labels properly can help you to monitor your sodium intake. For instance, most convenient microwavable foods will have up to 25% of the recommended amount of sodium that you should consume daily. It is always better to prepare a quick meal from scratch and pair it with some vegetables but if you have no other option, you should always opt for low sodium foods.
Check To Ensure That The Salt You Are Using Is Really “SALT”
This is very important. Conduct a simple test before using the salt by leaving a teaspoon to dissolve in a glass of water overnight. If the salt clumps together and accumulates at the bottom of the glass it has been refined. Looking at the salt settled on the bottom of the glass should give you a vivid picture of what it will look like in your organs – scary if you ask me. Unrefined salt tends to dissolve more naturally in water.
Keep Treats To A Minimum
Some foods should be classified as treats and only consumed on special occasions. Pizza for instance has become a regular dinner option in many households despite its high sodium content. Research done by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey has also proven that many common chicken dishes from fast food restaurants, pasta, and even yeast bread are also rich in sodium. Hence keeping these foods at a minimum will help you reduce your sodium intake.
Sure, you will need a little willpower to tackle sodium overload especially if you will be forgoing some of your favorite foods. Keep the steps above in mind and moderately change your diet to a less “sodium friendly one.”