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The Real Truth About Salt

June 27, 2021

I’m truth-busting this week.

Ever since I discovered that almonds aren’t actually a nut, I’ve been checking with friends to make sure I haven’t confused myself anywhere on the truth plane. I didn’t, not that I’m aware of anyway, but I did discover that I’m not the only one who didn’t know that almonds aren’t nuts.

A Grain Of Salt For Your Truth?

Coconut oil mouth swish for whiter teeth? Fecal transplants to boost your beneficial bacteria? Salt to boost your body’s water content?

Take them all with a grain of salt. There is always some research that supports both sides of such health and beauty claims. 

What you don’t want to do, and doctors have been saying this all the livelong day, is take too many grains of salt––both literally and figuratively.

Is salt bad for you or is salt good for you?

Honestly, it depends on who you ask. If you were looking for a definitive answer, you’re going to get the only kind that holds up against a question of its nature.

The truth about salt is that it’s both good and bad. It all depends on the kind of salt you’re using.

Salt is amazing for dissolving the sheet of ice on your driveway, for instance.

Salt is terrible in a wound, unless you have malicious intent, then it’s effective.

The Bad-For-You Salt

As far as eating and health go, salt is a bit of good and a bit of bad. The evil salt at which everyone wags their finger is refined salt, also known as white salt or table salt (as opposed to desk salt). That means it has been heavily ground to remove impurities.

The problem with refinement is that that process also removes trace minerals that have major benefits for health. And it causes salt to clump, meaning chemical anti-caking agents must be added to keep it salt-shaker friendly.

It’s a bit like stripping your hair of its natural colour to then dye it. It looks nice but it’s not real and it’s not very healthy.

The health risks of consuming too much refined salt are many. The anti-caking agents, first of all, are carcinogens, meaning they can cause cancer. Eating a lot of refined salt can mess up your body’s sodium balance too, causing excess fluid build up in the body, which can lead to gout, kidney stones, arthritis, and rheumatism. It also increases blood pressure and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Most of our refined salt consumption sneakily comes to us in the form of processed foods like salt & vinegar chips and cheese doodles and salted caramel ice cream toppers. But don’t fool yourself, it even shows up BIG TIME in “healthy” breakfast cereals and “good-for-you” rice cakes.

The Better-For-You Salt

Unrefined salt however, such as sea salt or pink Himalayan rock salt, is actually beneficial for your health. It is one of the most important components in alkalizing the blood and body tissues.

Sodium in the form of natural salts are an important nutrient for balancing blood sugar, hypertension, and adrenal fatigue. The problem occurs when we think we need to add more than our food already gives us. A little rock or sea salt don’t hurt, but so much of even the natural food we eat contains all the sodium we need, including meat, certain vegetables, and whole grains.

That said, we don’t need more salt, it just tastes nice. If you’re going to add salt to your meals, choose either a good quality pink salt or sea salt.

Our bodies contain salt water. Ever notice that our tears and sweat are salty? That’s why you’ll find rehydration salts in the health pouch of nearly every marathon trainer, and why sad people feel better after salty snacks (that last bit may not be evidence-based).

Your Best Is In Balance

For the most part, your body’s sodium content is delicately balanced all by itself through a clean and natural salt-free diet. When we start adding in processed salts or even too much natural salt we can upset that balance. A pinch here and there isn’t harmful, but let’s put it this way, your salt shaker is probably better stashed in the cupboard than out on the kitchen table.

Did you know that natural, raw peanuts contain a healthy dose of sodium? That’s why I don’t include any salt in my peanut butter. This is one of those lovely occasions in which less is so much more. Try my 100% natural peanut butter made from locally-grown peanuts. No added oil. No salt. No sketchy stuff.


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