Is Salt a Health Food?
There is no reason, other than taste, to consume salt. And that includes ANY sodium chloride, such as table salt, kosher salt, sea salt, Celtic sea salt, Himalayan salt, fleur de sel, etc.
Because salt is not a health food.
Many people do not believe this because it seems that we can eat sooo much salt and still live to tell the tale.
Just look at the United States. The average American consumes 3,466 milligrams of salt each day and while our health is anything but lively, we still live to be almost 80 years old on average!
But that does not mean salt is healthy. Here’s the proof:
Salt Makes You Thirsty
What happens after just one bite of a salty meal like popcorn, pizza, or Chinese take-out? You get terribly thirsty.
Okay, pretty obvious. But this thirst is actually telling you something very important.
It’s a sign that your body is doing everything it can to get rid of the irritant, namely by creating thirst so that you’ll drink something (hopefully water and not cola) to dilute the substance you’ve just ingested.
When you ingest salt, the delicate sodium/potassium balance is thrown out of whack. To compensate for the extra sodium in your blood, water molecules move from your cells into the bloodstream via osmosis in an attempt to restore balance. This leaves a water deficit in the cells, aka dehydration.
Dehydration is never a good thing and is why your body calls out for more water. If you ever feel thirsty, it is because you are dehydrated. Salt is dehydrating.
Salt Makes You Sweat
So what happens after a few more bites of that salty dish? You get seriously sweaty.
Another no-brainer, but do you know the reason? It’s because in addition to the liver and kidneys, your skin is a major source of detoxification. In other words, sweating is simply another way for your body to eliminate the salt.
Don’t believe me? Eat a salty meal and then taste your sweat. Pretty salty, eh? Now you know why.
And yes, when you give up salt for good, your sweat will no longer taste like a salt lick. Definitely a plus!
Salt Makes You Burn
And in more ways than one! Not only does salt in an open wound hurt like a you-know-what, but it also burns your tongue.
Contrary to popular belief, salt does not “enhance” the flavor of the foods you eat. What it does is chemically irritate your taste buds. This makes them more sensitive to the food, ultimately dulling your sense of taste.
This is why chronic salt users need more and more and more salt added to their foods to receive the same flavor hit that they used to receive from lower doses.
Salt Makes You Vomit
Okay Swayze, now you’re talking crazy. I just ate an entire dish of salted peanuts and I don’t feel the urge to upchuck one bit. Explain yourself!
“Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.”
I’m sure you’ve heard that bit of poetry before, but do you know what it’s referencing? It’s the vast and mighty ocean.
Why not a drop to drink? Because at around 3.5% dissolved salts, seawater is extremely salty! Drink enough of the stuff and you will vomit it up.
Similar to the urge to drink water after a salty meal, the urge to vomit after consuming an even heavier dose of salt is your body’s attempt at getting rid of the stuff. When ingested, heavy amounts of salt water induce retching by irritating your gastrointestinal tract.
Your stomach contracts and you vomit.
And while unpleasant, vomiting is a life-saving reaction. If you were to keep this large amount of salt in your body without access to any pure water, you would become extremely dehydrated, your kidneys would shut down, and you would die.
Salt Makes You…Dead!
Yep, salt’s a killer too. And not just for those crazy enough to sample the salty sea.
As I said, Americans consume 3,466 mg of sodium a day (the government recommends 1,500-2300 mg, or 1/2-1 teaspoon). This seriously unhealthy practice has been linked to big killers such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and (no surprise here) kidney disease.
But We Need Sodium!
Yes, we do. Sodium is absolutely vital for regulating body fluids and maintaining your muscular and nervous systems.
We also need chloride, as it is necessary for regulating body fluids and forming stomach acids.
What we don’t need is salt. So then where do we get our sodium?
From fresh produce, of course!
Our sodium and chloride needs are very small.In fact, pretty much any diet sufficient in calories will provide enough sodium, even a diet predominated by fresh fruits and vegetables.
But the best part?
Tangerines won’t make you thirsty, strawberries won’t make you sweat, bananas won’t burn ya, peaches won’t make you puke, and cantaloupes certainly won’t kill you.
You may go a little fruit-happy, but consider it a good thing.
But I love Salt!
I know, giving up salt is hard. By far the easiest way to reduce your intake is to limit or even avoid processed foods like chips and pastries. Even so-called healthy packaged foods like soups are often brimming with salt, along with the neurotoxin MSG. Just giving up these foods will lower your sodium intake significantly.
From there, you can work on using less salt in your recipes. A really great healthy and delicious salt substitute is celery salt. Seriously, if you haven’t tried it, you really need to. It’s so good!
If you just can’t bare to part with salt, that’s okay. Just be sure to keep your daily intake below 1500 mg per day (1/2 tsp = 1000 mg).
Go raw and be fit,
P.S. Think raw foods only taste good with a little (make it a lot) of salt and other condiments? You’ve got it all wrong! In fact, raw foods only taste good WITHOUT salt and spices!
I know, you’re skeptical. You’ve tried simple raw food recipes and everything just tastes bland to you.
Ah yes, but you’ve never tried these recipes…
“Low Fat, Fruit Filled, High Fun Raw Recipes”
Delicious and Healthy Raw Vegan Favorites for Every Meal
Every single recipe in Low Fat, Fruit Filled, High Fun Raw Recipes is salt-free and delicious. And if you don’t think so, no worries! I offer a 30-day full refund, no questions asked.
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Post Updated: 4/3/2013