Monday, June 30, 2014

Which Salt is Best?

Patients ask me a lot about whether or not they should have salt to their diet. As long as they are not suffering from water weight, kidney dis-ease or high blood pressure, salt is a great thing to add to your food. The real question is what kind of salt? And my answer is the pink one! (which my 5-year old daughter loves just because it's pink).

Over the last couple of years there has been a rave about sea salt being a healthy alternative to table salt but do you know why it's better or have you just been using it because you like it's texture and you think it tastes better?

Sea salt is obtained directly through the evaporation of seawater. It is usually not processed, or undergoes minimal processing, and therefore retains trace levels of minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium.

Table salt, on the other hand, is mined from salt deposits and then processed to give it a fine texture. This processing strips table salt of any minerals it may have contained, and additives are also usually incorporated to prevent clumping or caking. Chlorine is also used to make the salt the pearly white that it is. Yes, that's right, they use chlorine, meaning that they bleach it, just like we use bleach to make our whites whiter that's what they use to make table salt white.

Some say there are no real health advantages of sea salt because one can receive the trace minerals found in sea salt in other healthy foods and that table salt does have iodine added since the 1920s to prevent the iodine-deficiency disease goiter. And I say that given the choice of trace mineral filled salt or salt with synthetic iodine, bleach and other preservatives I'll go with the all-natural sea salt.

An even better salt than sea salt is Himalayan salt which I think tastes even better and has 84 trace minerals in it compared to sea salt's whopping 7. Trace minerals are important to the nutrition of the body in order to regulate many enzymatic reactions. If we aren't getting enough minerals from our diet then a trace minerals supplement can always help.

I wonder if all the problems we attribute to consumption of too much salt is actually due to the toxicity of chlorine or food additives or the stripping of minerals from the salt. I wonder if the salt, not having its natural minerals, causes our digestion system to borrow the minerals from the body in order to digest it properly and in the long run actually cause deficiencies in the body that turn into water imbalances in the body that if left long enough these imbalances turn into disease - high blood pressure, heart disease or kidney dysfunction. Just food for thought or should I say, salt for thought? :-)