• Sodium is an essential nutrient for health. It regulates the total amount of water in the body and is critical in generating electrical signals that power communication between the brain, nervous system, and muscles.
• Too much or too little sodium therefore can cause cells to malfunction, and extremes in the blood sodium levels (too much or too little) can be fatal.
Let me say right up front that I love salt and believe that food tastes better with salt. As an adult I’d get fat eating food with savory and salty profiles before I would from eating ice cream or cakes. Wine is my sweet of choice and just happens to compliment a bit of meat of fish sprinkled liberally with chunks of Himalayan sea salt.
Whether sea, macrobiotic, or table, any salt is basically sodium chloride.
The difference occurs in the processing (or lack of) and like most other processed foods, table salt comes with some health risks.
First it is heated to break the molecular structure, then stripped of all “impurities,” such as naturally occurring minerals. Salt refiners take this now “pure” product and add aluminum compounds to help keep it dry and pourable. Potassium iodide replaces the naturally occurring iodine salts, and according to Sally Fallon, “in order to stabilize the volatile iodide compound, processors use dextrose which turns the iodized salt a purplish color. A bleaching agent is then necessary to restore whiteness to the salt.”
Mmm mmm good.
How do we get to high blood pressure and other maladies associated with salt intake? According to the American Heart Association, salt added at the table accounts for only 5% - 10% of our daily intakes.
Processed foods, fast foods, and most restaurant foods are what’s doing people in. The rest of the 1500 to 2300 recommended daily milligrams shows up in bread, processed cheese, happy meals and Lean Cuisine, tomato sauce, lunch at Panera — even cereal if you are still eating it, has sodium.
Tip: Chicken is the worst offender in the fast food world for sodium content.
Due to the brilliant scientists on staff at the major food manufacturers, more salt than you could ever add in by hand is neatly woven in with other flavors — sugar for one — so foods stay fresh longer and pretty much addict your taste buds from day one. If you ever want the inside scoop on how nefarious this science experiment is, please read The End Of Overeating by Dr. David. A. Kessler. It’s mind-blowing how precise the science is of getting us to adapt to ever-increasing salty and sweet tastes — thereby wanting to eat more which means we have to purchase more.
But I digress.