Salt: Essential to Life – But What About High Blood Pressure?
All living creatures must have salt to survive. Mother Nature dictates, however, that balance is essential in all living things. As is often the case in our modern world, violating this natural principle by getting too much of a good thing is costing us our lives!
“There must be something sacred in salt: It is in our tears, and in the ocean.” Kahlil Gibran
Sacred? Yes. We cannot live without salt…indeed, it is in our tears, our blood, and our sweat, and it is abundant in nature.
The 5th century Greek healer Hippocrates made frequent use of salt for the treatment of infections, skin lesions, stomach upsets, and respiratory problems.
In the 16th century, Renaissance doctor Paracelsus said, “The human being must have salt, he cannot be without salt. Where there is no salt, nothing will remain, but everything will tend to rot”.
Salt is our friend. Unfortunately, it’s gotten a pretty bad rap because of its overconsumption.
Here are some statistics reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)1:
- About 1 in 3 American adults has high blood pressure, called hypertension.
- Additionally, 1 in 4 has what is called pre-hypertension: blood pressure measurements that are higher than normal but not high enough to be called hypertension – yet.
- In 2010, high blood pressure will cost the United States $76.6 billion in health care services, medications, and missed days of work.
According to researchers who conducted a review of 13 studies on the link between salt intake and cardiovascular diseases, more than 1 million stroke deaths and nearly 3 million deaths from cardiovascular disease could be prevented each year around the world simply by reducing daily salt intake by 5 grams2.
QUESTION: WHAT QUALITY OF SALT DID THEY USE IN THEIR RESEARCH?
How Your Body Uses Salt
The two major components of salt are sodium and chloride, and both are necessary for all known living creatures.
Just take a look at what sodium does in our body, and you’ll understand why!
Sodium is critically involved in:
- The transmission of electrical nerve impulses throughout your body.
- Enabling uptake of nutrients into the cells.
- The regulation and maintenance of the proper balance of fluid levels.
- The contraction and relaxation of muscles – including your heart.
So how exactly does salt harm your health?
Your kidneys know when you are too low on sodium in your body, in which case, they hold on to it and make sure not to excrete too much. Conversely, when sodium levels are too high, your kidneys flush out the excess.
Seems like a good system of “checks and balances”, right?
The problem arises when you consume more sodium than your kidneys can handle.
When you eat too much salt, sodium starts to accumulate in your blood, and in an effort to bring the fluid and salt ratios back to balance, your body will hold on to all the water it can.
More fluid in your body increases the volume of blood coursing through your entire cardiovascular system, which means that your heart has to work harder and harder to keep the blood moving throughout your body.
This is what translates to an increase in blood pressure and associated risks of stroke and heart disease.
PERHAPS MORE IMPORTANTLY, SALT CAN ALSO HARM YOUR BODY IF IT IS THE WRONG KIND OF SALT!!!
The salt we have been eating for generations is a poison. It’s not a true salt. In fact, it has been REFINED and stripped of minerals. It also contains sugar, bi-carbonate of soda, and chemicals so that “when it rains, it pours”.
Those Pesky Salt Cravings
The main reason for the overconsumption of sodium in the Western world today is attributed to the high consumption of processed foods – which use refined salts not just for flavoring but also in chemical form to work as a preservative.
If you’ve been consuming the Standard American Diet, you are definitely taking in too much sodium, and your body is out of balance.
Think of cravings as S.O.S. signals: Your body is trying to communicate to you that it is deficient in something it needs.
For example, salt cravings can be an important sign that your thyroid and adrenal glands need minerals. Turning to poor quality, nutritionally-deficient salt found in processed foods to satisfy your salt cravings, however, creates a vicious cycle in which you further weaken your vital organs and suffer even more cravings because your body is not getting what it truly needs…REAL mineral-rich salt.
Quelling these cravings, or what become addictions, begins with restoring nutritional health and balance in your body.
Eat Right AND Include the Right Salts for Health
Mineral rich sea water from 2000 feet below the surface is extracted and transformed into salt through a completely natural process without any additives. We love this very special Hawaiian Sea Salt from Selina Naturally, which contains ionized sodium, chlorine, magnesium, potassium, calcium, selenium, and other trace minerals, like copper, iron, zinc, chromium, and manganese, which are missing from surface water. We highly recommend it for its nourishing properties, as well as its superior taste.
The Body Ecology Diet is a guide to a wholesome, natural way of eating and living that focuses on teaching you how to balance your inner ecology so you can restore and maintain good health, vitality, and longevity.
If you already have high blood pressure and are on medication, we strongly urge you to make the necessary lifestyle and diet changes to get your health back on track.
Eliminating processed foods in favor of a diverse array of unrefined, whole foods also gives you the benefit of obtaining many of the other important minerals your body needs, like potassium, magnesium, calcium, and other trace minerals.
In fact, researchers have found that increasing the amount of potassium you consume while reducing your sodium intake could significantly reduce your blood pressure and your risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, and heart failure3. (Please see Hawaiian Sea Salt below.)
Also, a wholesome diet that has lots of vegetables and fermented foods will naturally be lower in sodium. Most importantly, it won’t contain any of the bad sodium found in processed foods. You will want to cook with mineral rich sea salt and add a delicious “finishing salt”, like Selina Naturally’s Hawaiian Sea Salt, to your food after cooking for more flavor.
What’s most important is that you stay away from refined salts and favor only naturally derived sea salts.
Natural sea salts are taken from the ocean, and unlike refined salt, have no added chemicals, preservatives, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, or anti-caking agents. They contain balanced amounts of the essential sodium that your cells must have to work properly, so please don’t be afraid to use them just because you were told that salt is bad for you.
Here at Body Ecology, we love and highly recommend, the mineral rich sea salts by Selina Naturally. We especially love their new Hawaiian Sea Salt because it is so rich in potassium. It is a “finishing salt”, so put it on the table and enjoy!
Here are a few more reasons why this Hawaiian Sea Salt is so unique and essential to your health:
- This mineral rich Hawaiian sea salt comes from 2,000 feet below the surface of the ocean off of the coast of Kona, Hawaii.
- Hawaiian sea salt is pure and untouched during its transformation, and the Hawaiian volcanic activity off of the coast stirs up self-contained deep sea currents to offer even more minerals to the rich salt water there.
- Scientists have proven that deep sea currents are the coldest and saltiest waters in the ocean, which do not mix with other ocean waters, further reinforcing that Hawaiian Sea Salt is purely extracted with all vital minerals preserved.
- This deep sea salt is full of ionized chlorine, ionized sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, selenium, copper, iron, zinc, manganese, and chromium, which are not found in common surface water. What more can you ask for?
Keep in mind that the amount of salt you need will depend upon your current health, how active you are, your size, and how sensitive your body is to sodium intake.
Most experts agree that between 1,600 and 2,400 mg of sodium per day is what an adult needs for optimum health – and that isn’t as much as you’d think: just one teaspoon corresponds to about 2,000 mg of sodium.
Our recommendation? Focus on getting healthy so you can begin to learn how to listen to the intuition and wisdom your body is endowed with: It will tell you what you need!
“Sodium: How To Tame Your Salt Habit Now”, Mayo Clinic Staff
1. High Blood Pressure Fact Sheet-Centers For Disease Control and Prevention
2. “Salt Really Does Boost Health Risks”, November 25th, 2009
3. “Increasing ‘good’ salt could improve heart health”, Nathan Gray, Sept. 15th, 2010