Get the salt you need

Earlier this year, the government finally admitted its dietary advice to limit cholesterol and saturated fats was all wrong. So healthy foods like butter, eggs, meat, and shellfish should have stayed on the menu all along.

Actually, when you think about it, these misguided government dietary myths have been dissolving like salt in water. So it’s a bit ironic they still cling to what I have called “the great salt scam.”

They still urge people with high blood pressure to avoid salt. Even worse, they say everyone should avoid salt to prevent high blood pressure.

But the science tells a different story. In fact, a low-salt diet can actually be downright deadly.

As I reported previously, one study shows older people with the lowest salt consumption had the highest risk of early death.

And researchers keep turning up more dangers of low-salt diets.

In one study, researchers looked at the connections between dietary salt and cardiovascular disease among 2,937 men with high blood pressure. Those with the lowest level of salt intake had a 430 percent greater rate of heart attacks compared to those with the highest level of salt intake. According to the authors, most important was the finding that subjects consuming the highest amount of sodium did not experience more heart attack events than did those consuming a low- sodium diet.

Salt is a building block of human life. In fact, terrestrial life emerged from the sea hundreds of millions of years ago–and life carried all that salty seawater along with it. Biologists believe the human body’s natural salt levels reflect the levels found in the Earth’s oceans all those millions of years ago.

Indeed–our blood cells and internal organs swim in a sea of salt water. So regular salt intake is critical for metabolism, physiology and hydration.

When most people think of salt, however, they think of common table salt, which is 99.9 percent sodium chloride.

But you should use natural sea salt as the far better choice. It’s just 84 percent sodium chloride. And it also contains other key electrolytes and important minerals such as calcium, iodine, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Your body needs these critical nutrients for bones as well as general health.

Sodium is a major electrolyte in the body. And you must maintain a balance between sodium and other minerals. That’s why sea salt is great choice, because it already contains numerous other minerals.

When cooking, I prefer good sea salt that comes from the Himalayan Mountains, the Mediterranean, or the Pacific. Just be sure you sea salt hasn’t been “refined” or boiled to produce the crystals.

You can also flavor your foods with healthy spices like bay leaf, basil, cardamom, curry, dill, ginger, marjoram, sage, tarragon and thyme, which bring out the flavor of your foods. You can learn more about how to use these spices in a balanced diet in the September 2015 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter.

In the meantime, rest assured that despite government guidelines, salt is not the primary cause of high blood pressure–stress is. And, in fact, the government itself is the cause of increasing amounts of stress these days. So in essence, the government is the leading cause of high blood pressure for many citizens. Now, if only we could reduce our exposure to it.