It's very confusing out there! We hear salt is bad for us - contributing to high blood pressure and heart disease. Yet, our bodies are composed primarily of water, with an intricate balance of salt minerals necessary for its many chemical reactions.
Although cooking with small amounts of good quality white sea salt support the body and its functions, most Americans are actually jeopardizing their health every day by the quantity of salt they consume. And the main culprit is not the saltshaker. Many Americans have already given up the habit of adding salt to their food at the table, but they still struggle with signs of salt overload, i.e. aggravated high blood pressure that stresses heart function by making the heart work harder under increased pressure.
The top two culprits for large amounts of hidden salt are processed foods and restaurant foods. Unless labels specify foods to be salt-free, you can assume too high a salt content in both these situations. Even when an item is labeled "low salt", check the label for the amount of salt. Remember the term "low" is not standardized and means lower than high salt.
Best trend to begin this New Year would be to eat more real foods that you cook yourself and decrease processed food intake to a minimum, if at all. Remember, it is hard to support your own health unless you actually cook most of your meals.
Also, treat yourself to a restaurant every now and then, but keep it as a treat, not your meal mainstay. Order foods that are fresh and natural without added salt. Also, all meats are naturally high in salt and it would be best to occasionally avoid having meat, or eat only a small portion. And in cooking as well as eating, avoid table salt (pure sodium chloride)!
Opt for small amounts of white sea salt in cooking, since sea salt, unlike table salt, has not been stripped of the additional minerals that balance salt and are better for your body’s function.
Sooooo, salt is not bad. It is essential for our survival. But eating too much, the wrong type (table salt, rather than white sea salt) and in the wrong way (shaken onto food or large amounts used in cooked foods, rather than small amounts in our cooking) can damage our health.
What is your major challenge with salt intake?