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                                                       Salt-the myth


                                                        Salt aka Sodium.

    A mineral that is needed by the body, but also over used.

Often when you experience health issues, the medical world will tell you to back off from the salt.  Why?  They say salt is bad for you– in an excess.

                                                              The actual problem?

     Well there are a few of them.

     One of the problems issome of the salt we eat today is not natural.  

     Natural salt will not be totally dry- it will often hold moisture, this is due to the minerals still in the salt-when you use it-it will often clump together so you think it is ‘wet’.  Also with true natural salt the color will be from beige or light tan to gray and light pink.  Not bleached white. Be careful of where the sea salt comes from.  Due to contamination in our seas/oceans.. 

     Salt is removed from the earth and sea by a mechanical method. (because it is easier to do this, and more productive=more money made).  It is the often sent through metal pipes, or removed from the work site in trucks, again not natural.  Then it is artificially processed -graded….and heated to extreme heat levels which ‘cracks’ its molecular structure.  They will then process out the minerals from the salt.  (remember about 80 of them) These are often removed and sold separately -which actually make more money than the salt does for the company.

    This is when other chemicals can be added, one chemical will make it pour easier, they bleach the salt and add iodine so it is now “iodized”.  These are harmful chemicals used to bleach it, no organic iodine, and then the other chemicals to make it pour easier.  None of them are good for us. Our body has to process these non-organic chemicals.

     Even the salt sold in health food stores and labeled natural, is not actually natural, It too is processed.  Once of my concerns about sea salt (even natural) is the pollution.  The ocean is polluted, and now thanks to BP it was full of oil!  Folks, this will affect our sea salt over time!  It might not today, or next week, but over time, yes, everything will be effected by the biggest oil spill of our lifetime.

                                                       How much salt do we need a day?

         The American Heart Association says we should eat less than 1,500 mgs a day.  This is just slightly less than 3/4 tsp of salt a day.  I don’t know about you, but I like to add salt to my food when it is at the table.  I have learned to cook with herbs for flavor, and then I add salt if I want to and by doing that, I can stay below that figure.  The only time I go above it is when I am using processed foods.  Now let’s look at why that is.

                                                           How do we read the labels?

First you need to know how to read the label. Look for where it says sodium.

How does that translate?

Sodium equivalents

1/4 teaspoon salt=600 mg sodium

1/2 teaspoon salt= 1,200 mg sodium

3/4 teaspoon salt= 1,800 mg sodium

1 teaspoon salt= 2,300 mg sodium

1 teaspoon baking soda= 1,000 mg sodium

                                        What is the difference between sodium and salt?

Salt is sodium and chlorine, and the sodium is the part that you have to watch out for.  So 40% of salt is sodium, and to figure out how much sodium is in that salt, you have to multiply the amount listed of sodium by 2.5 to get the equivalent of salt amount. chloride (sodium plus chlorine). The sodium in the salt is what you have to look out for. 40% of salt is sodium. For example, if a portion of food contains 1g of sodium per 100g, you will know it contains 2.5g of salt per 100g.

Let’s look at how much salt is in a few products:

POP:

-Sierra Mist- one 8 ounce serving has 25 mg of sodium that means 62.5 mg of salt.
-Canada Dry Ginger Ale-one 8 ounce serving has 35 mg of sodium. That means 87.5 mg of salt.
-Pepsi or a coke has 35 mg in an 8-ounce serving.
-Mt dew has 38 mg in an 8 ounce serving
-Mt Dew Code Red has 110 mg in an 8 ounce serving
-7Up has 50 mg in an 8 ounce serving
-Sprite has 45 mg in an 8 ounce serving

Breakfast Cereals:
1 cup servings-(only listed a few here) sodium content is listed first so remember to x that by 2.5

*cap’n crunch 269 mg sodium so it is 672.5mg in salt this means over 1/4 teaspoon
*Cheerios-213 mg sodium/532.5 mg salt-  almost 1/4 tsp
*Honey Nut cheerios-269 mg sodium/672.5mg salt-over 1/4 tsp
*Corn Flakes 202 mg sodium / 505mg salt
*Golden Grahams 359 sodium / 897.5mg salt -almost 1/2 tsp
*Life 255 sodium / 637.5mg salt


    Now try reading the label of a can of soup, or spaghetti sauce and a few other products. See how you can get a lot of salt in your diet? And all of this salt is unhealthy processed salt.

     This is one of the reasons why your body sometimes can-not handle the salt and responds with high blood pressure, which in itself is dangerous but during pregnancy it complicates your pregnancy.

     Remember, fresh fruits and vegetables do not contain much if any salt at all!  Fresh fruits and vegetables! Don’t they just sound good?

    Salt increases our appetite.

If it does this (along with sugar, high fructose corn syrup) then we will eat more.  So if you add these ingredients, and you eat more-that means you purchase more of the same product.  A marketing ploy to sell more products.

                                                        Salt and Potassium

    Salt is important for the body.  Potassium is important for the body.  The two together-well they are like polar magnets, -opposites.  If you have to much sodium, then it lowers the potassium and if you have too much potassium then it lowers the sodium.  Often when people have high blood pressure, they are given a water pill if it is related to swelling and fluid shift in the cells.  When this excess water is taken out of the body, potassium can be taken with it, so some doctors will prescribe a potassium sparing medication for the blood pressure.  It is all based on many other factors, which I will (for the sake of space) not get into right here.

     Food rich in potassium are Greens, carrots, bananas, potatoes, tomatoes and meats.

Now let’s see how that all works. What you have to understand is where ever sodium is -water will follow.  So, if there is too much sodium in the cell-water will go there too.  Thus the swelling.

     The kidneys also respond directly to changes in blood pressure. If blood pressure increases, the kidneys increase their excretion of salt and water, so that blood volume decreases and blood pressure returns to normal. Conversely, if blood pressure decreases, the kidneys decrease their excretion of salt and water, so that blood volume increases and blood pressure returns to normal. The kidneys can increase blood pressure by secreting the enzyme renin, which eventually results in the production of the hormone angiotensin II. Angiotensin II helps increase blood pressure by causing the arterioles to constrict, by triggering the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system, and by triggering the release of two other hormones, aldosterone and antidiuretic hormone (also called vasopressin), which cause the kidneys to increase the retention of salt and water. The kidneys normally produce substances that cause arterioles within the kidney to dilate. This helps balance the effects of hormones that cause constriction of arterioles.  Normally, whenever a change (for example, increased activity or a strong emotion) causes a transient increase in blood pressure, one of the body’s compensatory mechanisms is triggered to counteract the change and keep blood pressure at normal levels. For example, an increase in the amount of blood pumped out by the heart ”which tends to increase blood pressure “causes dilation of blood vessels and an increase in the kidneys’ excretion of salt and water “which tend to reduce blood pressure.

Salt is a mineral that is important for the acid base balance in our body and body fluids. Salt comes into the body by what we drink and eat, it is known as an electrolyte. Once in the body, it is often called an ion, and as it functions, and ion helps move the water around in the body form cell to cell.

                                                      Where can we find good salt?

    What salt can we trust? Well most will say if it says natural on the label- it is good for you. Remember that I can fill bottles of water in my back yard and sell it to you labeled ‘natural’.
Our coastlines are not safe anymore, and neither are other countries coast lines. What I have found is Celtic salt making, is prob the best way to obtain salt. But that is my opinion. Not a scientific one.

You can also try Piaute Indian salt- (named after the native American Indians who first mined it) it comes from an ancient sea bed that is dried up, and has been buried under the earth for years. This has protected it from toxins and poisons.

    Where can I purchase some salt that is better for me?  Try at