Playing most of my tennis in hot and steamy Florida, my naturally heavy sweating takes on new proportions – and those who have seen my soaked shirt/pants/shoes and puddle under me can testify. I have longed believed that as much as goes out of me, I must replenish the salt in my body; and as long as I do not have a high blood pressure issue (which I do not), taking salt is good for me.
Here are highlights from an article on this subject from BenGreenfieldFitness.com
“I’m sure you’re familiar with the old story. Eat less salt. Reduce blood pressure.
In reality, if you’re truly serious about how long you live and how much stress you put on your heart and your kidneys, you have to take that advice with a grain of salt. A big grain of salt.
As a matter of fact, the calls for sodium reduction you see plastered all over health magazines, doctor’s offices and popular news reports are not only unsupported by research, but have been proven to be dangerous for you.
And this topic is currently quite near and dear to my heart, since I just raced Ironman Hawaii two days ago. In the week leading up to the race, I ate over six times the recommended daily intake of sodium. That’s right. I had 6 teaspoons of salt a day
And I’m not nervous about that level of salt intake at all.
In this article, you’re about to learn why I personally eat salt by the spoonful, and why salt is not as bad as you may think.
The Facts About Salt
1. There is zero evidence to support a drastic reduction in sodium intake.
A recent review of a study by the Institute of Medicine failed to identify a health benefit associated with sodium intakes less than 2,300 mgs/day, and concluded that there is insufficient evidence to determine whether sodium intakes of less than 2,300 mgs are harmful or beneficial.
2. Reducing sodium intake can have unintended health risks.
But here’s what we actually do know: recent research highly suggests that low sodium intake can indeed increase health risks.
3. Your total potassium levels and your “sodium to potassium ratio” are what is actually important for heart health.
We are now learning that the key to your health does not lie in any absolute amounts of sodium, but instead in the ratio between sodium and potassium – with the ultimate goal being to achieve a ratio ≤ 1.
Now I’m no math major, but this ratio seems pretty simple. You don’t need to limit sodium. You need to increase potassium. It’s a pretty easy-to-grasp concept once you realize that you simply need to shift your focus from massively reducing sodium intake to instead maintaining a healthy sodium to potassium ratio in your diets.
We all know we need salt to live – after all, 70 percent of our body is made up of salt water. We also know that, in the body, sodium exists in a delicate balance with potassium. Potassium is also necessary for proper cell function, and is especially important for cardiovascular health. Recently, several studies highlight that the ratio of sodium to potassium intakes represent a more important risk factor for hypertension and cardiovascular disease than each factor alone.
How could this be? It’s basically because sodium and potassium actually have opposite effects on heart function. High sodium intake can indeed increase blood pressure, while high potassium intake can relax blood vessels and decrease blood pressure.
But the unfortunate fact is that most of us consume more sodium and less potassium daily than recommended. Our average daily intake of sodium is 3,436 mg (150% of the recommended daily limit) while our average daily intake of potassium is 2,790 mg (60% of the recommended daily amount).
What You Can Do About The Sodium Problem
The majority of the sodium that most people eat comes from processed foods like deli meats, soups, baked goods, cheese and fast foods. Only a shockingly low 11% of your sodium intake comes from adding salt to a meal either in cooking real food or sprinkling it on your food at the table.
So if you really want to adjust your sodium to potassium ratio, the best way to cut back on high levels of unbalanced sodium intake is to reduce your intake of pre-packaged, processed and fast foods and to only salt your food while you’re cooking or at the table.
Which Salt Should You Use?
Refined table salt – the white stuff on the table at most restaurants or probably in your kitchen cupboard – is the same sodium source that those big food processors use to salt their foods. It is usually 99% sodium chloride, the last 1% is saved for the anti-caking agents. Problem is — anti-caking agents are essentially heavy metals, which are toxic to your body
Refined table salt has aluminum, ferrocyanide, and bleach in it. Anti-caking agents are added to increase its shelf life. The chemicals added to keep salt from absorbing moisture on the shelf interfere with one of salt’s main functions: to regulate hydration in the body. The sodium chloride in table salt is highly concentrated, denatured, and toxic to your body.
Ever put salt on an open cut? It burns!
Refined salt has that same burning effect on your internal tissues and causes a negative reaction: your body retains water to protect itself, and your cells release water to help dilute, neutralize, and break down the salt. This loss of water dehydrates and weakens your cells and can even cause them to die prematurely.
Refined table salt is poisonous to the body and is responsible, in great part, to the onset of many terrible diseases including thyroid and metabolic dysfunction.
So what’s the alternative to common, nasty, iodized, sodium chloride and chemical laden table salt?
Natural sea salt contains 80+ trace minerals including potassium and it is only 92% sodium chloride. It is free of aluminum and other toxic substances table salt is exposed to during the refining process. Sea salt is also known for its coarse, crunchy texture and superior flavor.
For the full article, please click HERE
So, go ahead and salt that baked potato (but don’t forget your banana in the morning!).
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