Salt is good for you?!

Salt is good for you?!
Perhaps you’ve heard
some of the buzz in the health blog world about salt. Perhaps you are asking
yourself, salt is good for me? Yep, it is! The idea is contrary to the pretty
blatant lies told to us by the American Heart Association… and thank goodness,
because salt makes food taste amazing.
There is no need to
suffer through bland, unsalted meals in the sake of health.
 Here are 12 reasons why salt is good
for you
:
1. The premise that
salt leads to hypertension has never been scientifically supported. On the
contrary, studies show that a reduced-sodium diet leads to health issues. In
one study, subjects consuming less than 2300 mg. (the recommended daily
allowance) of sodium per day had significantly higher mortality rates 
(meaning
a higher risk of death) than the subjects consuming 2300 mg. or more sodium per
day.
2. Salt aids
blood sugar control by improving insulin sensitivity
. A low-salt diet increases
insulin resistance
 and even moderate dietary salt restriction is shown
to cause systemic insulin resistance.
3. Salt is a
natural antihistamine
. A pinch of salt sprinkled on the tongue may help
improve an allergic reaction or an asthma attack.
4. Your body
needs salt to maintain the proper stomach pH
. Stomach acid is hydrochloric acid
and salt is sodium chloride. Proper stomach acid levels are
absolutely foundational for good digestion, but 90% of Americans have low
stomach acid.
5. Salt lowers
adrenaline spikes
. Adrenaline is a necessary and important stress hormone,
but it is just that… a stress hormone. When adrenaline patterns are out of
rhythm, it takes a toll on the body.
6. Salt
improves sleep quality
. It boasts anti-stress and anti-excitatory qualities
due to its suppression of stress hormones and it increasing of the metabolic
rate. This may explain why many people report that a low sodium diet interferes
with sleep and an adequate amount of dietary salt improves sleep quality.
Interestingly, if you
often wake up with your heart pounding between 2 and 4 AM, it is probably
because of an adrenaline spike. The most important change is to reduce both
physical and mental stress, as well as eating a healthy diet. But one immediate
fix to help you go back to sleep is just a pinch of salt and sugar (or salt and
honey, if you prefer) sprinkled on the tongue to calm the adrenaline peak.
7. Adequate
salt consumption encourages a healthy weight and fast metabolism
. Showed
that increased salt intake leads to an increase in the elimination of
cortisol and lower blood cortisol levels.
 Imbalanced or excess
cortisol means weight gain and a stagnant metabolism.
8. Salt
supports thyroid function
 by reducing circulating stress hormones. For
example, cortisol is anti-thyroid, but salt combats excess cortisol.
9. Salt
supports hyperosmolarity of the extracellular fluid
. Slight
hyperosmolarity–more solutes in the extracellular fluid than in the
cell–actually increases the cell’s metabolic rate.   That
means salt can speed up your metabolism! On the other hand,
when the extracellular fluid is hypo-osmotic in relation to the cell, it
impairs the breakdown of proteins and glucose and thereby lowers the cell’s
metabolism.
10. Increased
sodium intake also correlates with increased thermogenesis
–heat production
by the body.
11. Adequate
salt supports balanced hormones
. Hormone and nutrition researcher Ray Peat explains the correlation
between the salt-regulating hormone aldosterone and mineral loss:
One of the things that
happen when there isn’t enough sodium in the diet is that more aldosterone is
synthesized. Aldosterone causes less sodium to be lost in the urine and
sweat, but it achieves that at the expense of the increased loss of potassium,
magnesium, and probably calcium… Magnesium deficiency is extremely common, but
a little extra salt in the diet makes it easier to retain the magnesium in our
foods.
12. Salt makes food
taste good. Salt adds a satiety factor to food and makes meals
enjoyable. Adequate salt content of food makes it easier to enjoy quality
instead of quantity, thereby encouraging mindful eating and weight management.
What salt is best?
Salt is good for
you if it is the right type. With that said, regular processed
salt is better than no salt, that’s for sure.  But the better option is
unrefined salt, which is rich in trace minerals and free of additives
.
I had the opportunity
to speak with a salt expert at Real Salt, and I asked him how the popular types of
unrefined salt compare
. We discussed Real Salt, Himalayan Salt
and Celtic Sea Salt. As it turns out, these salts share an extremely similar
mineral profile. While some producers of Himalayan salt boast that their salt
contains 84 trace minerals, that is a false marketing claim.
These three types of unrefined salts all contain about 60 important trace
minerals, although the amounts of minerals vary slightly from salt to salt.
Oh, this is obvious
but I should say it anyways… don’t rely on high-sodium processed food for salt!
That is not a good source of sodium. Make food from scratch
and salt it yourself.
How much salt should I eat?
Food should be salted
freely and to taste
. When the metabolism
is slow and the thyroid is not optimally functioning, it may be beneficial to
consume extra salt whenever possible. This could include salting all beverages
and using liberal salt when cooking and baking.
If you have kidney
disease or hypertension, it is a good idea to consult with a medical
practitioner before increasing salt intake.
Most
importantly, listen to your body. Let your salt craving and desire
for seasoning dictate how much salt to consume.

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