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SALT - Friend or Foe

By Mark Anthony


Salt is an essential part of the body and we will have serious health problems without it, but how bad is this element that we hear so many negative things about? Sodium, one of salts main compounds, is one of the primary electrolytes in the body. All four electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium) are available in unrefined salt, as are other vital minerals needed for optimal bodily function. Too little salt in the diet can lead to muscle cramps, dizziness, or electrolyte disturbances, which can cause neurological problems, serious health issues and even death. So why do we only hear how bad salt is for us, and is it really that bad?

The problem in society is that we have such a huge abundance of salt in our dietary lifestyles. This overload of salt can be extremely harmful to our bodies. According to many credible organizations, we should only have 500mg a day of salt, that's 1/4 teaspoon. Yet global studies have shown results ranging between 2,700mg and 4,900mg a day. That's pushing 10 times more salt than the body should be having.


An abundance of salt has been linked to a number of health problems including:
stroke, cardiovascular disease, hypertension or high blood pressure, ulcers, and even death; yes, too much salt in a quick amount of time has causes many deaths, especially in children.
Today roughly 65 million Americans have hypertension, or high blood pressure, and another 45 million have pre-hypertension, that's 1 out of 3.  Blood pressures greater than 140/90 are considered hypertension, while those between 120/80 and 140/90 are considered to be pre-hypertension.  Ninety percent of Americans will ultimately develop hypertension unless preventive actions are taken, and there are many studies linking salt consumption one of the culprits.

Roughly 75 percent of the daily sodium intake of the U.S. population comes from salt in processed and restaurant foods and only 10 percent comes from a natural content in food. In our fast paced world of convenience it is extremely difficult for consumers to follow a low-sodium diet. This is because many canned and frozen foods contain 1,000 mg or more of sodium in an eight-ounce serving. Consumers must read food labels very carefully to select lower sodium products. Often such products are difficult to find and cost more to purchase.  Restaurant meals, which are not labeled, often contain 3,000 mg of sodium or more without the consumer's knowledge.

 In all reality, if the only thing you eat is processed foods and restaurant food, you will never ever come close to getting down to the appropriate levels of salt that we should be consuming. Sticking to the whole natural foods in their natural state is the most effective way to get off the astronomical amounts of salt we are consuming.

From one extreme to the other, a lack of salt can causes a desire to overeat and often results in a craving of animal proteins, while too much salt will increase thirst and also trigger cravings for sweet foods. The body naturally craves the products that will compensate for the imbalance created. This is why weight gain is often related to salt consumptions, both too much or too little can result in additional pounds.


We always hear about all the bad elements of salt and not one single time have I ever heard a doctor talk about what a friend salt is in our lives. So I've done some research and compiled a little list of things that salt does to benefit the body.


Salts Benefit to the Body


Salt strengthens bone structure. Even osteoporosis, can result from salt and water shortages in the body
Prevents gout and gouty arthritis
Stabilizes irregular heartbeats
In conjunction with water it helps regulate blood pressure.
Extracts excess acidity from your body's cells, particularly the brain cells
Clears mucous plugs and sticky phlegm in the lungs, particularly in asthma and cystic fibrosis
Balances the sugar levels in the blood
Generates hydroelectric energy in your body's cells
Increases conductivity in nerve cells for communication and information processing
Enhances absorption of nutrients through the intestinal tract
Clears up congestion of the sinuses
Provides your body with a strong natural antihistamine
Regulates sleep: It is a natural hypnotic
Eliminates persistent dry coughs. Put a dash on the tongue
Helps maintain muscle tone and strength
Helps maintain sexuality and libido
Prevents varicose veins and spider veins
Provides your body with essential mineral and necessary trace minerals it needs to thrive
Helps treat emotional disorders
Preserves serotonin and melatonin, known antidepressant neurotransmitters
Helps the kidney to pass excess acidity into the urine
Is a strong anti-stress element for the body
Prevents muscle cramps
Stops excess saliva production


Wow, that's a lot of benefit that we just don't hear about. Do to the massive amount of damage that is being done because from excess salt in our diet, we never see any of the benefit, and there are a lot more benefits to salt than we would ever realize. Some are not just aids to our health, they are literally vital to sustain life. We need salt more than anyone would ever realize.

Mark Anthony's Top 10 Benefits of SeaSalt

1. Strengthens Immune System: Salt naturally helps the body build up a strong immune system so that we can fight off fevers, colds, flu, allergies, and other autoimmune disorders.

2. Alkalizing: Salt is alkalizing to the body, it can help you to prevent and reverse high levels of acids in the body, which in turn eliminates the risks for many serious and life-threatening diseases.

3. Weight Loss: Believe it or not, sea salt can also help you in weight loss. It helps the body to create digestive juices so that the foods you eat are digested faster, and it helps to prevent buildup in the digestive tract, which eventually can lead to constipation and weight gain.

4. Skin Conditions: A salt bath can help to relieve dry and itchy skin as well as serious conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. The bath naturally opens up the pores, improves circulation in the skin and hydrates the tissues so that your skin can heal.

5. Asthma: Salt is effective in reducing inflammation in the respiratory system. Thus the production of phlegm is slowed down so that you can breathe easier again. Some say that sprinkling sea salt on the tongue after drinking a glass of water is just as effective as using an inhaler. But the great thing about sea salt is that it has no side effects when taken in moderation.

6. Heart Health: When salt is taken with water it can help to reduce high cholesterol levels, can reduce high blood pressure and help to regulate an irregular heart beat. Salt can actually help to prevent atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes.

7. Diabetes: Salt can help to reduce the need for insulin by helping to maintain proper sugar levels in the body. Here, the salt is an essential part of the diet if you are diabetic, or at risk for the disease.

8. Osteoporosis: Over 1/4 of the amount of salt that is in the body is stored in the bones, where it helps to keep them strong. When the body lacks salt and water it begins to draw the sodium from the bones, which can then eventually can lead to osteoporosis. Thus by drinking plenty of water and consuming salt in moderation you can prevent osteoporosis.

9. Muscle Spasms: Potassium is essential for helping the muscles to function properly. Salt not only contains small amounts of potassium, but it also helps the body to absorb it better from other foods. This is effective in helping to prevent muscle pains, spasms and cramps.

10. Depression: Sea salt also has shown to be effective in treating various types of depression. The salt helps to preserve two essential hormones in the body that help you to better deal with stress. These hormones are serotonin and melatonin, which help you to feel good, and relax and sleep better at night.

So you see salt really is not as bad as people are led to believe. In fact it is one of the most important elements in our bodies. We are in a culture of extreme over abundance and that is why we never hear anybody ever say a single good thing about salt. In most bodies, any excess salt that the body does not need is simple passed right thru the system. When people claim that salt is harmful to the body, it is an absolute ignorance that they turn this friend of our bodies into a foe. It is a numbers problem, Some people have no problems with excess salt, while others have huge problems with even a little too much salt. That's why I thought you would like to see both sides of the truth. Salt is good for you and there is no doubt about it, but too much salt is bad for you and not enough salt is really bad for you. The best thing to do is take salt in very low moderation and remove yourself from the 90% that are consuming harmful amounts of salt. Your health really does depend on the decisions that you make. Be smart about your health, do your homework, and act on the knowledge you receive.

Now when you go on a vegan lifestyle, having no animal products whatsoever, you will not have all that cholesterol and animal fat surrounding all your taste buds. This will enable your taste buds to do the job they're suppose to be doing and you will not need all the salt to flavor your food. You will naturally be lowering your salt consumption to the appropriate levels you should be having.

Top 5 Tips to Avoid Excess Salt

1. Make recipes from scratch: This will help allow you to avoid using too much salt in your diet. Most foods really don't need all the salt in the cooking process.

2. Stay away from the processed food industry: I always say eat things that are a plant not come manufactured in a plant. Many of the processed and manufactured foods are amped up with huge amounts of salt.

3. Avoid salting your food: Try zesting, mild spices, and herbs. Lemon and lime juice work great too. Use spices other than salt when cooking. Examples include pepper, basil, thyme, garlic.

4. Make better choices: Choose foods with low sodium like fruits and vegetables. Avoid salty snacks such as pretzels and potato chips.

5. Go Vegan: It's the best way to get your taste buds working the way they should be. Your food will taste so much better without all the salt. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.


The other grand deception is that sea salt is better and healthier for you than any other salt. For the most part, salt is salt and it doesn't matter what claims you hear, there is generally a minuscule fractional difference of nutritional value between any of them. According to many credible universities, including the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, sea salt and table salt have the same basic nutritional value, they are both made up of sodium and chloride. Mayo Foundation and others have claimed that however sea salt wants to be marketed as healthier, it's just not the case, their chemical makeup is the same and the only differences are in the flavor and texture. Salt and Sea Salt have virtually no significant differences.

I do recommend the natural kosher and sea salts because they do not have the processing that many of the table salts have and I am a true believer to stay away from any type of processing. I'm not going to recommend sea salt to you because it's better for you. Being a chef, I use sea salts for the flavor, I get far better flavor out of the natural sea salt than any other salt. And I will give you a confession from the kitchen that the restaurant industry really doesn't want you to know, when you use sea salt, you can actually use more salt, and your food is not going to taste salty. It is a lot more forgiving in commercial cooking. That's one of the reasons why restaurant foods have much higher sodium contents.

The biggest warnings I have is that salt is still salt. The fact is that people are now justifying their salt addictions by their claims that sea salt is healthier when in all reality it is not. It still comes down to the overconsumption of salt and many people in society are now consuming even more salt than they ever have before because of this extremely successful marketing plan. In reality, this bold marketing claim is literally causing far more sickness and death than we ever had before because of the false illusions that it has been created in order to drive sales into their industry.


". . .all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage
of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore,
we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears.
We are tied to the ocean. And, when we go back to the sea. . .
we are going back to whence we came."
-John F. Kennedy

Plain and simple, reduce your salt to the appropriate consumptions and reduce your risk of major health problems.

This is Mark Anthony, saying, Live Better, Eat Vegan!



Sources: Here are some of the sources that I use. When I am researching elements, I generally try to find a number of backings and not just one. When it comes to the statistics, you will notice that I often use a range or apx. # because of the range of different results from different sources.

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