Is salt bad for you? For years, a whole lot of wellness experts answered that question with a resounding “yes.” But newer information published in medical journals and the New York Times has been calling that assumption into question. What gives? Let’s take a look.
First off, why do we eat salt at all? Because our bodies need it. Sodium is an essential mineral for sending messages from the brain to the muscles. It’s also a temperature regulator, allowing us to do things like cool down after exercise. If we are lacking a sufficient amount of sodium, then we will not be able to sweat and release toxins and heat. This, in turn, can easily lead to a stroke or acute dehydration because our body heat burns up too much fluid.
Most of us probably grew up eating a lot of refined table salt. This kind of salt has been stripped of its beneficial minerals (including electrolyte-balancing magnesium) and has even undergone a bleaching process that gives it that white color. Those absent minerals have been replaced with chemicals such as bromine (which can be an endocrine disruptor) and anti-clumping agents to increase shelf-life.
Unfortunately, they also prevent the salt from absorbing moisture. Because the main benefit of salt is to regulate water in the body, making salt unable to take in moisture removes this valuable therapeutic effect. We’re left with a substance that is void of many key beneficial components.
So what are the good salts, the ones our bodies really need? Unprocessed ones that are alive. Yes, you read right. If you see the salt all over the glass container or when you try and open it, it’s caked up around the lid? That’s a living salt. Sea salts, like Himalayan or Celtic varieties, are good examples. These are rich in not only sodium, but also potassium, magnesium, and calcium chloride—a combination that can help correct the body’s acidic levels and alkalize its systems.
And that’s just the beginning of what salt can do. Here is a rundown of some salt benefits.
Controls blood glucose by improving insulin sensitivity.
Works as a natural antihistamine. (Try putting a pinch of salt on your tongue when going through an allergic reaction or an asthma attack to help control the reaction).
Helps to maintain healthy gums due to antibacterial functions.
Aids with quality sleep and stress reduction.
Helps maintain a proper stomach pH.
Can support weight loss. (Adequate levels of salt lowers the levels of our stress hormone, cortisol. When our cortisol levels are high, our metabolism can slow down).
So the question, to salt or not to salt? Answer: Salt.
Photo Credit: Mimi McCormick