The American Heart Association says sodium in salt raises blood pressure. They say it increases the risk for heart disease and stroke.
But the latest science says otherwise…
A British review of 34 clinical trials showed that cutting down on salt reduced blood pressure only slightly for people with hypertension.1
And a new study in The Lancet found that some low-salt diets could put you at GREATER risk of heart disease and death.2
Researchers analyzed data from 133,118 people. They wanted to see if there was a link between high sodium and heart attack, stroke and death
The results were startling. People on “healthy” low-salt diets were MORE likely to experience heart attacks, strokes and death than those who had moderate amounts of sodium in their diets.
It makes sense to me. You see, salt contains vital minerals your body needs. That’s why it’s in all your body fluids from blood to lymph to sweat and tears. It’s so vital that one area of your tongue is designed just to taste it.
Salt is full of electrolytes that help maintain fluid balance and nerve impulses. They help your system send messages to and from the brain.
The diet gurus in the government say you should get less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day. That’s about one teaspoon of table salt. That’s not enough for most people.
I tell my patients that the safest range is from 2,500 to 5,000 mg of sodium per day. But I also tell them they don’t have to worry about counting milligrams.
The easiest way to make sure you don’t go over safe limits is to stop eating processed foods. The foods with the highest sodium levels are breads, cereals, frozen meals, cured meats, pizza and canned soups.
And instead of cutting out salt in cooking and at the table, I advise all my patients to switch to a good quality unrefined sea salt.
You see, the salt you find in most foods today isn’t even close to what nature created. I call it “frankensalt.” It’s bleached and refined. It also contains MSG, sugar, aluminum and residual chemicals from the processing.
But unprocessed whole sea salt has 40% to 57% less sodium than processed table salt. In addition, it contains up to 80 trace minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, copper, iron and zinc. Your body uses these minerals to form vitamins, enzymes and proteins.
I like Celtic sea salt, Himalayan pink sea salt or Redmond Real Salt. You can find them at good quality supermarkets or on the Internet.
To make sure you’re getting all the trace minerals you need in the right proportions, I recommend a daily dose of salt water. It’s called sole (so-LAY).
Sole is water saturated with sea salt. It’s like a natural electrolyte drink. Here’s how to make it:
- Fill a quart-size glass jar or pitcher one-third full with Himalayan sea salt. Fill the jar with filtered water, leaving two inches at the top.
- Shake or stir well. Cover with a plastic (not metal) cap. Let sit for 24 hours at room temperature.
- After 24 hours check to see if all the salt has dissolved. If so, add a little more salt. When the salt no longer dissolves and falls to the bottom, the water is saturated.
- Store the sole covered on a counter or in a cupboard. It will not spoil or go bad.
Each morning place a teaspoon of the sole mixture in a glass and fill with eight ounces of filtered or spring water. Drink it before breakfast.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. He FJ, Li J, Macgregor GA. “Effect of longer term modest salt reduction on blood pressure: Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised trials.”” BMJ. 2013;346:f1325.
2. Yusuf S, Teo K, and Mente A, et al. “Associations of urinary sodium excretion with cardiovascular events in individuals with and without hypertension: a pooled analysis of data from four studies.” The Lancet. 2016. Volume 388, Issue 10043, 465 – 475.