According to organizations such as the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association, it is recommended that people with high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes or kidney disease not consume more than 1500 mg of sodium per day. If you are a healthy person? No more than 2300 mg.
Salt is a love-hate relationship for many of us. We love how it tastes, but we hate what it does to our health. If you have been diagnosed with any of the above mentioned diseases, you have heard the lecture from your doctor about the importance of cutting back on your sodium and felt the sinking feeling in your heart when you thought about giving up the bacon, cheese, deep fried foods and all of your other salty favorites.
In terms of salt, you can actually eat 2.5 times more salt than sodium because salt contains both sodium (40%) and chloride. In measurements of daily intake,1500 mg of sodium amounts to 0.75 teaspoons, while 2300 mg is about one teaspoon.
Unfortunately, the daily average of sodium is 3400 mg (well over the recommended amount) and it’s not because people are eating too many natural and whole foods. It’s the processed foods that provide convenience and comfort to our lives that are the culprits. While it’s easy to look at a food label and check the sodium content, it’s not so “front of mind” to check the sodium content of the beef burrito with rice and beans at your favorite Mexican restaurant that provided well over two days worth. And don’t forget those six mozzarella sticks you ate with your girlfriends last Friday! Those contained over 2,300 mg of sodium while the bacon and turkey sandwich with cheese you ordered from Panera for lunch was 2,800 mg. It’s easy to ignore these numbers when the food just “arrives” at your table or is passed through your car window with no nutritional facts attached to it.
Salt can be your friend. We need salt to live and consuming high quality sea salts is something you should do daily. Sea salts are a great source of minerals, containing typically 60 - 80 trace minerals. It’s becoming harder and harder to obtain trace minerals from the foods we eat due to the lack of nutrient-rich soil. However, trace minerals are necessary for optimal health and are still abundant in our planet’s seas and oceans, from which we get a variety of sea salts.
Sea salt is produced through evaporation of seawater, usually with little processing, which leaves behind some trace minerals and elements depending on its water source. Manufacturers of sea salt typically do not refine sea salt as much as other kinds of salt, so it still contains traces of other minerals, including iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc and iodine. There is sea salt at health food stores that have been refined through heating and chemical additives. Be sure the sea salt you choose is of the highest quality and unrefined. Brian and I use Celtic Sea Salt Brand that is a unprocessed whole salt and is quality certified.
Celtic sea salts come from waters that has not touched any land until it comes into the salt marshes of Brittany, France. Himalayan salts are pinkish in color and are derived from a land locked source. Several mines in Khewra, Pakistan supply the world. The taste is different between these two salts as well as the mineral composition. The sodium content is lower in the Celtic and magnesium is higher. Nutritionally this is superior. The phosphorous and potassium are slightly higher in the Celtic Salt, as are many trace minerals and elements deficient in the modern diet. But both are healthy and both are nutritionally superior to table salt.
Table salt is mined from underground salt deposits. Table salt is more heavily processed (chemically treated, bleached and heated) to eliminate trace minerals and usually contains an additive to prevent clumping. Most table salt also has added iodine. People require less than 225 micrograms of iodine a day. Seafood as well as sea salt contains iodine naturally and the supplement is unnecessary if there are sufficient quantities of seafood or sea salt.
Sea salts can be added to smoothies, sprinkled on vegetables, used in recipes and added to food to flavor. The more whole, real foods your lifestyle has the less you will have to stress about your sodium content. It’s not the whole foods giving you the issues! It’s the extracurricular food activities coming from restaurants, take-out, boxes and bags that need to be addressed.
If you know you need a shift in your lifestyle and food perspective and you REALLY don’t want to give up ALL of the good foods you have come to enjoy in life, check us out at The Healthy Edge. We don’t believe in all-or-nothing and we can support you in creating a win-win for your health and palette! For more information, check us out at www.getthehealthyedge.com.