To Salt or Not to Salt, That is the Question
Chances are you haven’t heard many voices raised to sing the praises of salt. At least not lately. And certainly not in public, right out there in front of God and the whole world.
And that’s a shame because salt is essential to life, not an enemy.
Salt (sodium) is one of our body’s electrolytes. Your sharp little eyes might notice a similarity to the word “electricity,” as in something that turns on the lights. Which kind of sums up electrolytes, too, only it’s about shooting nerve impulses hither and yon as needed.
Potassium, another electrolyte, has to balance with sodium, or your old bod pays a big price. With one on the inside of each of our cells pushing out like crazy and the other on the outside pushing in with equal vigor, we can’t afford to have either sodium or potassium win.
Maintaining the pressure maintains the cell. Otherwise, the cell caves in here and there. Well, now, see, that’s a bad deal because a deformed cell isn’t a working cell.
While that brief explanation vastly oversimplifies the unbalanced electrolytes march to doom, you get the idea.
What about blood pressure
But, but, but, you sputter, what about my blood pressure? If I don’t cut out sodium, it’ll shoot to the moon, with disaster not far behind.
Well, no. Blood pressure problems can come from a deficiency of magnesium, another electrolyte, but sodium’s not the villain in this piece. Or any piece, for that matter.
In fact, sodium is necessary for good nerve and muscle function. A sodium deficiency slows reaction time to the speed of sludge. And then there’s that having a working brain business, too.
Our bodies get demanding when we need more sodium, and then the cravings start. For instance, if our fight-or-flight adrenals are flagging, salt cravings set in like nobody’s business.
This doesn’t mean it’s time to eat salt by the spoonful, but it does mean your body’s talking to you-and saying there’s trouble in Paradise. Well, there’s trouble if you can’t-stay-awake-and-need-to-do-beached-whale-impressions version of Paradise, and you need to get serious about finding out what’s going on-or isn’t going on, as the case may be.
That said, all is not bliss in salt-land. The it-pours-when-it-rains salt sold in grocery stores, used on processed foods and found on the table at restaurants does cause problems. Processed to death, all the supporting minerals removed, then bleached to a snowy white, regular salt offers nothing your body needs. And much that it doesn’t.
Use sea salt-unprocessed and full of minerals, not to mention taste. It can be beige, gray or pink, but natural sea salt isn’t white. White means processed, and processed means missing parts, and missing parts mean your body won’t really know what to do with it.
I use Celtic Sea Salt. It’s good, and it’s easy to get. The pink Himalayan sea salt sure looks pretty, though. Maybe that’s where I’ll go next.
Sea salt often arrives in a very coarse grind, which doesn’t dissolve easily or quickly. And looks like tiny little pebbles when sprinkled on a salad. It’s great for anything that cooks for a while, but for salads, scrambled eggs and the like, you might want to get the fine grind. Another lesson I learned the hard way.
The good news about salt isn’t widely known, so as you liberally salt your breakfast/lunch/dinner, a member the salt police might feel compelled to disdainfully question your intelligence. Arguing is futile; they know what they know, even though it’s wrong.
Oh, you might throw them into confusion with a little chatter on the balancing of electrolytes, but it’s probably a better use of your time to simply enjoy your meal. A little lip-smacking could be fun, though.
Salt is your friend.
God is good,
Copyright by Bette Dowdell. All rights reserved
P.S. Bette Dowdell is not a doctor, nor does she purport to be She’s a patient who’s been studying and successfully handling her own endocrine problems for more than 30 years. She offers introductory teleseminars and an in-depth 12-month subscription program, “Moving to Health” about living well with endocrine issues. She explains how things work-or don’t, discusses what things to avoid as well as the things that help, and she provides a lot of well-researched nutritional information. Subscribe to her free e-zine at Information is power.