With the increase of processed foods, came the increase of sodium in our diet. With this increase, sometime dramatic, in sodium came health issues. Research has shown that too much salt can lead to – high blood pressure, osteoporosis – a bone-thinning disease, asthma, stomach cancer and weight gain.
Function of Salt in Body
Despite its bad rap, salt is essential to the proper function of the human body.
- Muscles and nerves require sodium along with other molecules to generate electrical currents for the proper function of muscles and nerves
- The kidneys regulate sodium intake. The kidneys are responsible for controlling sodium concentrations and retain sodium when your levels are low and excrete sodium in the urine when levels are high.
- Sodium holds water, so when it is dissolved in the blood it helps to maintain blood pressure. Over consumption of salt increases the blood but the blood vessels are unable to expand to accommodate this increase so your blood pressure rises.
- Sodium provides chloride ions which are secreted in the gastric juices as hydrochloric acid which is essential to digestion and also destruction of food-borne pathogens in the stomach.
In order to maintain homeostasis the body must be in balance. In holistic medicine we ask why does the body go out of balance when too much sodium is consumed?
Most of us use ordinary table salt which contains man made chemicals. I once read a table salt label that listed sucrose as one of its ingredients. Really, why would you sweeten my salt!
According to Dr. Mercola only contains 97.5 percent sodium chloride (just over 39 percent of which is sodium. The rest is man-made chemicals, such as moisture absorbents and flow agents, such as ferrocyanide and aluminosilicate.
The recommended salt to use is natural unprocessed salt, such as sea salt and Himalayan salt, contains about 84 percent sodium
chloride just under 37 percent of which is pure sodium. The remaining 16 percent are naturally-occurring trace minerals, including silicon, phosphorus, and vanadium.
In addition, Americans are consuming very low levels of potassium. An increased intake of sodium without an increase in potassium puts the body out of balance. Currently, Americans are consuming very low amounts of potassium: approximately 3,200 mg per day in men and 2,400 mg per day in women. The Institute of Medicine has defined and adequate intake as 4,700 mg per day.