Should You Add Salt

04 Oct 2011
Should You Add Salt

You don’t need to have high blood pressure to be harmed by salt. Within 30 minutes of eating a high-salt meal, the flexibility of your arteries may be reduced by half, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition—the same amount of havoc wreaked by a fatty meal!

A killer condiment?

The research cited above was conducted in healthy people whose artery function returned to normal after two hours. Nevertheless, impaired blood vessel functioning like this will set you up for a future heart attack or stroke, and the risk is even greater if you already have a chronic heart condition.

So what is the problem with salt? It  contains a massive amount of sodium—some 200 to 300 times what is recommended!

How does your salt rate?

Not all salt is pure, white and deadly. Unrefined salt may come in pink, brown, black or grey. These are misleadingly promoted as good sources of minerals to balance out the sodium.

Health authorities advise us to choose foods containing significantly more potassium and other minerals compared to sodium. Yet even Celtic sea salt and pink Himalayan rock salt, which fare best, still supply 60 to 145 times more sodium than potassium! Heart-friendlier salt substitutes, based on a mix of sodium and potassium chloride, are available, but these need to be added after cooking and are unsuitable for those who have kidney problems.

How much is OK?

No added salt is best. Whole foods naturally contain enough for optimal functioning and most Western diets already deliver excess sodium from processed foods. If you wish to flavour your food, add lemon juice, herbs or spice. Fancy salts are just a more expensive way of doing yourself harm.