New York City Takes On Salt

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The Real Issue… and Why You Need to Know About It

Did you see the January 10th New York Times report about salt?

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently named it his next “Public Enemy #1.”

His health department already banned trans-fats in restaurants. And forced calorie counts to be listed on menus. Now they’re taking on salt.2

The real question they should be asking is not “Should you eat salt or not?” It’s “What kind of salt should you eat?”

Good News for Salt Lovers

You need salt to live, and to continue living. No doubt about it…

  • A human embryo develops in salty amniotic fluid.
  • Your body consists of three distinct fluid systems, all salty – blood plasma, lymphatic fluid, and extracellular fluid.
  • Salt carries nutrients across cell membranes into your cells.
  • Salt keeps calcium and other minerals soluble in your blood.
  • Salt helps regulate muscle contractions.
  • The mainstay of fluid replacement therapy for treatment of dehydration – or as an IV therapy to prevent hypovolemic shock due to blood loss – is a saline solution of 0.9% sodium chloride.
  • Salt helps regulate blood pressure and fluid volume.
  • In hot temperatures, salt regulates your fluid balance.
  • It helps stimulate your nerves by increasing conductivity in nerve cells… for communication and information processing.

You can’t live without salt in your body.

You’re unable to digest food without it. Your heart needs it to function. So do your adrenals. Your liver and kidneys cannot work without salt.

You sweat salt. Your tears are salty. Your blood is salty.

So I trust you’ll look past conventional medicine’s blindness in pressing for low-salt diets.

Is Low-Salt Really Better?

The idea that salt consumption causes high blood pressure in the first place is a relatively recent belief… based, in fact, on questionable conclusions  a handful of studies.

Repeated studies failed to show a major causal link between salt intake and high blood pressure. In fact, some research points in the opposite direction.3

A huge government study on thousands of people concluded that minerals – especially potassium and magnesium – are better at lowering blood pressure than salt.4

Even the CDC’s own data over the space of 30 years showed that adequate mineral intake acts to keep your blood pressure low.5

A low-salt diet supposedly reduces your risk of heart attacks and strokes. But where’s the evidence? I’ve seen compelling evidence that shows you increase your risk of a heart attack on a low-salt diet.6

Why an increase?

Because low-salt diets can create or worsen nutritional deficiencies. And you know you need vitamins and minerals for good heart health.

So I take conventional medicine’s low-salt advice with a grain of salt… and suggest you do, too. This should come as good news if you enjoy salty foods.

But yet, it’s worth considering what type of salt is best for your health.

Choose “Living” Salt for Life

Regular table salt is a highly processed product that’s devoid of nutrients and minerals – like most other processed foods.

Due to extensive processing, which either destroys nutrients with high temperatures or strips them out, it lacks the nutrients found naturally in unrefined salts such as sea salt.

I advise switching to natural sea salt as your replacement for “traditional” table salt.

Think of unrefined salt as a whole, living food, because it is. It provides up to 82 vital trace minerals that promote your best possible life function and cellular health.

Even in tiny amounts, these minerals rally to regulate your body’s systems. They restock your electrolytes and balance your acid/alkaline levels.

Say Good-Bye to Traditional Table Salt

Your best way to replace processed table salt with unrefined sea salt is to eat whole organic vegetables, fruits, and meats you cook yourself… then add your own sea salt to taste.

Here’s a list of high-sodium prepared foods, with lower sodium alternatives to substitute. Choose these options… and add your own healthy replacement for processed table salt.

Sources of Added Salt

Substitute Instead

Canned / frozen vegetables

Fresh vegetables

Soups

Homemade soup

Ready-to-eat cereals

Shredded wheat, puffed rice, oatmeal, low-sodium cereals

Celery salt, garlic salt

Caraway seeds, pepper, garlic, parsley, sesame, thyme, lemon, other spices

Salad Dressings

Homemade dressings

Steak sauces, sauces,

Prepared mustard, catsup


Lemon, spices

Crackers, potato chips,

Corn chips


Salt-free matzah, crackers,

Club soda

Seltzer water, juices

Bacon, ham, salami

Nitrite-free sandwich meats

Fast food

Salad, sandwiches

You can purchase sea salt in health-food stores and many mainstream grocery stores.

Still Worried About High Blood Pressure?

Since studies show poor outcomes for people low in minerals, here are some ways to increase your dietary intake of the most critical ones.

Magnesium – Helpful for healthy heart function and normal blood pressure. Dark green leafy veggies like spinach are rich in magnesium because chlorophyll molecules contain magnesium. Beans, peas, nuts, seeds, and seafood also provide magnesium. You should strive to eat enough magnesium-rich foods to get 500-1,000 mg of magnesium daily.

Potassium – Maintains normal fluid and electrolyte balance, and promotes normal muscle function. Helps optimize blood pressure levels.7

Foods rich in potassium include orange-colored fruits and veggies like apricots, cantaloupe, oranges, nectarines, peaches, sweet potatoes, and butternut and acorn squash. Other foods rich in potassium are black and kidney beans, spinach, Swiss chard, artichokes, bananas, kiwi, fish, meat, poultry, and milk. You should strive to get your potassium  a healthy diet.

Calcium – Populations with low calcium intake have higher blood pressure. But it’s not been proven that popping extra calcium supplements will automatically lower your blood pressure.


  1. “Citing Hazard, New York Says Hold the Salt,” The New York Times, 01/10/10.
  2. http://www.ukessays.com/essays/chemistry/saline-fluids.php
  3. “Salt Your Way to Health,” Brownstein, David, M.D., www.celticseasalt.com (Reprinted  the Winter 2006 issue of A Grain of Salt.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. “Lower Your Blood Pressure with Potassium-Rich Foods,” The Vancouver Sun, 02/11/10.
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