Salt is bad, right? I mean, we hear that we have to restrict it if we want to be healthy. We see low sodium food products in supermarkets. So, that must mean that we should avoid it at all costs!! Right?
Well, that depends on what diet you're eating.
Are you still in the process of cleaning out your kitchen of those standard American diet foods? Do most of the foods you eat come in a bag, box or can? There's no shame at all here! I'm hoping you're here to learn how to start making those changes! If that's you, then yes you need to watch your sodium intake while you're still in the process of cleaning up your diet.
You see, processed foods contain a TON of sodium!! Why? Because of a few reasons.
1) To help lengthen the shelf life.
2) To add flavor.
3) To help bind the ingredients.
4) It enhances the color of food.
I hate to break it to you but most companies that sell processed foods are not very concerned with your health, despite the "health claims" on the package. Their main concern is profits and the more you eat, the more they make!
That's why I think the main reason is the enhanced flavor. Think of those salty chips...you know, you can't eat just one!!
So, if this lifestyle describes your current situation, don't worry. I will help you make the transition out of processed food land into the glory of whole food eating!
That transition, by the way, is not always easy at first. One of the biggest problems I've seen and personally have gone through, is the feeling of not having balanced electrolytes. I remember how bad I felt when I was moving away from a processed vegetarian lifestyle into a whole foods way of eating . I quickly realized that it was the lack of sodium in my diet. I was not used to salting my foods. There was no need with the frankenfoods I was unfortunately eating.
As I replaced those with healthy, natural foods, I had to add a bit of salt to help my body stay in balance.
You see, salt is not an enemy. It's actually a necessity. Our levels just need to be balanced. If we have too much, we will be thirsty and retain fluid. This is not good. Not just because you won't be able to get your rings on, but because fluid retention is not good for your heart or your kidneys. Not to mention it can also increase your blood pressure and lead to osteoporosis.
On the other hand, too little salt, hyponatremia, is a condition I've seen in clients who restrict salt or drink an excessive amount of water. That will deplete all of your minerals. You can have symptoms including nausea, headache, confusion, muscle twitching and fatigue. It can get worse than that, too. Hyponatremia is no joke.
This is why balance is key!
Let's take a look at some of the benefits of having a healthy amount of salt in our diet. BUT FIRST, we need to specify what TYPE of salt we need to use to reap all these benefits.
I'll give ya a hint...it's my favorite color! YES, PINK!! Pink Himalayan salt is my numero uno recommendation when it comes to salt. This is because it has a higher concentration of minerals than table salt. Table salt is highly processed and chemically bleached which is quite different from the very pure pink salt found in the foothills of Pakistan. Pink Himalayan salt also contains over 84 minerals and trace elements, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and iron. Because of the processing, table salt contains mostly sodium and sometimes added iodine. Oh, and some chemical additives to prevent caking! Ew!
So, needless to say, the following benefits are coming from Pink Himalayan salt. Not bleached, icky table salt.
1) Salt helps to balance your fluid levels:
Like I said earlier, too much salt bloats us by making our body retain water. You see, the water in your body follows the sodium, creating a retention problem. The other mineral that is needed in this situation is potassium. Potassium helps to balance sodium.
Let's go back to our original scenario of eating too much sodium. Over time, this may cause high blood pressure. Adding potassium will help to reduce the body's level of sodium, allowing your body to release water, thus reducing blood pressure. This is why we need a proper balance of sodium and potassium help to keep you balanced.
I alway rocommend that my clients start their day with a big glass of water with a bit of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. Add to that a 1/4 tsp. of cream of tartar and you have a perfect way to increase the potassium you get each day.
2) Salt helps to balance your electrolytes:
Himalayan salt contains sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. How convenient! We need all 6 of these minerals for good health. Thanks pretty, pink salt :) Proper electrolyte balance is necessary for us to feel our best. When they're off we can experience:
3)Pink salt improves your respiratory health:
It is a natural anti-histamine which is helpful for asthma and allergy sufferers. Having natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, pink salt can loosen excessive mucus and remove pathogens in the air like pollen.
4) Helps to balance blood sugar:
Having all those minerals helps with the digestion of sugars and starches and balances blood sugar.
5) Helps with digestion:
Pink Himalayan salt aids in digestion by increasing peristalsis. This will help food move freely through the digestive tract, helping those with constipation issues. It also stimulates the glands that produce our digestive enzymes and also stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid, which is secreted in the stomach for the breakdown of food, especially protein.
So how can you incorporate more Pink Himalayan salt into your life? Try these tips!
First off, it's important to know how much salt to consume. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 mg per day. That's about a teaspoon. I have to say that is not an association that I run to for answers (and we'll leave it at that) but what is more important to me is balance and how you feel.
If you estimate that you're getting the recommended amount and not feeling well, you may require a bit more.
Here are some ways to do just that:
Sole Water (pronounced Solay):
This is water with a high concentration of minerals from the pink Himalayan salt. It's perfect for those transitioning into a low carb or keto diet as the extra electrolytes will help with the detox symptoms.
To make it, simply fill a glass jar 1/4 of the way with pink Himalayan salt. Add filtered water leaving about an inch at the top. Seal the jar with a plastic lid and gently shake a bit. Leave on the counter for 24 hours. You should still see some salt on the bottom of the jar. If not, add a bit more and wait another 24 hours. After that, start by adding 1/4 tsp. to your morning water. Increase slowly up to 1 tsp. daily in your water. Keep on the counter. It will last indefinitely. It's important to not use metal utensils when handling the water.
Add to recipes:
You can swap out regular salt for pink Himalayan salt in any recipe. Just throwing together your own concoction? If it's one serving, such as an omelet, a dash or two will do!
I love my pink Himalayan salt lamps. I have them in all the bedrooms and I even found one that's a night light for the hallway. It's so cozy and it's the perfect amount of light for the end of the day as we're winding down. It gives this beautiful, soft glow. I'm not sayin' that I'm breathing any better or that any magic comes out of it! I'm just sayin' that I like it!
There is nothing like the feeling of your skin after it has been rubbed in oil and salt! (Did that sound weird?!) It is soooo smooth and looks amazing. I used to spend a pretty penny on them back in the day but it has been many years since I purchased a salt scrub. It's so freakin easy to DIY it! Get yourself a clean glass jar. Fill it halfway with the salt. Add in a nice almond oil or oil of your choice and a few drops of your favorite essential oils and stir. Easy-peasy! My favorite fragrances for this are lemon and orange. Yum!
I really hope this helps to clear up the confusion on the salt/no salt debate. Of course, if you have any questions, I'm here for ya!
Much love and health to you all!