For many years now, we have been told that salt is bad for our health, causing everything from high blood pressure and strokes to even heart attacks. Now we're starting to hear the opposite, so we want to know: is too much salt bad for you?
Good question. This salt debate has been going on for a long time. In fact, the beginning of our nation's so-called "salt scare" dates all the way back to 1972. That year, two prominent research studies reported that populations who used little or no salt had much lower blood pressure than salt-dependent nations like the United States. These "medical" findings caused everyone to panic and start cutting salt out of their diet as quickly as possible, but when we look closer at the way the study was actually conducted, it's hard to see how conclusive and well-founded the results really were.
For example, one study depended heavily on animal testing and involved feeding lab rats astronomically high doses of table salt. Americans may consume a lot of salt, but these lab rats were fed 60 times what the average American uses relative to their size. If taken to absolute extremes like this, we can probably declare many vitamins and minerals as harmful to our health! But the damage to salt's reputation was already done.
Salt: Good or Bad?
Even though many other researchers afterward concluded that the data found in the salt lab rat study was inconsistent, the medical establishment began an anti-salt campaign and everybody started shunning this naturally-occurring mineral in the human body. Thanks to many heavy-handed medical campaigns, anti-salt sentiments are still deeply embedded in the American mindset and almost impossible to change. Now take a look at statistics. Have heart attacks or strokes decreased since salt was declared a poison decades ago? Of course not! Did these medical professionals make a mistake?
Despite what researchers found decades ago, strong evidence now concludes that cutting salt out of your diet DOES NOT reduce risks of cardiovascular disease (American Journal of Hypertension, August 2011). After conducting a study on 6,250 people--not lab rats--new research has found that cutting salt intake can actually increase chances of heart disease by 56%. Cutting salt out of your diet is bad for you? This new research contradicts everything we have heard year after year from doctors, nurses, and even the FDA.
Still not convinced that salt isn't a health risk? The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for sodium (salt) is 2.400 mg daily. If you need more convincing, check out the article "It's time to end the war on salt," in the July 8, 2011 issue of Scientific American. The article describes the 1988 "Intersalt" study, wherein 52 international research centers could find no conclusive relationship between high salt intake and development of heart disease. As a matter of fact, those who took in more than 4,000 mg daily had lower median blood pressure than the controlled subjects who took in 7,2 mg. Surprised?
What Happens If You Eat too Much Salt?
So what happens if you consume too much salt? You get thirsty and you may urinate more. That's it! On the other hand, not getting enough salt has devastating health effects. The fact of the matter is, all living creatures on this beautiful planet could not exist without salt. Just remember how farmers put out salt blocks for the animals!
Salt used to be a very important international trade export, even during Columbus' travels around the world. Back then, people sure did not know anything about cardiovascular diseases, but they didn't mess with Mother Nature as much, either. Please be aware that there are different kinds of salt available. Non iodized organic sea salt definitely provides more health benefits than regular old chemically-treated table salt, so for the most health benefits choose all-natural brands like Celtic Sea Salt for your everyday at-home seasoning and flavoring. Take out your Celtic Sea Salt shaker, put it on your kitchen table where it belongs and use it generously. It may be your little secret, but it is actually good for your health!