When I was growing up, I hardly ever ate salt. Sure, sometimes I would eat chips but my parents never used salt while cooking food and most of my meals were in fact, home cooked (too bad I didn’t appreciate it then!) My parents grew up using salt in their meals, but then all these crazy studies came out saying that salt was pretty much terrible for you as it could contribute to high blood pressure and hypertension and so table salt disappeared from the house.
When I was 16 I went to my first Chinese medicine doctor. At the appointment, she asked me if when I stood up quickly I ever felt dizzy or saw “black spots”. For me, the answer was “yes” to both of these things. She then asked if I had much salt in my diet. I enthusiastically exclaimed “No!” thinking that she would praise me for this. Instead she sent me home with a bottle of Redmond’s Real Salt and told me to take 1/8 teaspoon twice a day with water PLUS use it liberally in my food.
At the time, I didn’t do much research into why I should be doing this, but regardless I followed her protocol. Within a month the “black spots” went away and I wasn’t getting that dizzy sensation anymore. As I started my nutrition education I began to research just why salt was so beneficial.
Salt provides an abundance of minerals for our body. The minerals in our soil have been largely depleted causing our food (such as vegetables) to actually lose a lot of its mineral content. But salt is still abundant in trace minerals like sodium, chloride, iodine, magnesium, calcium and potassium to name a few. Sodium gets a bad rap but it is absolutely essential especially for maintaining electrolyte levels in the body which will ensure your body is properly hydrated. When you are stressed, your body depletes sodium and if you do not take extra sodium in (and no- not in the form of Gatorade) your body can become severely dehydrated. Here is also a visual from Dr. Axe which is great for understanding different types of salt and their benefits.
Salt is also beneficial for digestion since if you don’t have enough salt in your diet your body will not produce enough hydrochloric acid. And if you read my digestion post here you will understand just how essential stomach acid is for us! Salt also is essential for proper brain, muscle and nervous system function as well as a nutrient enhancer that allows our bodies to absorb more vitamins and minerals from our food.
The best types of salt are pink Himalayan salt, Celtic sea salt, and Redmond’s Real Salt. Regular table salt is no good- and often times even has added sugar! Also, the theory that eating too much salt leads to hypertension more has to do with eating too many processed carbohydrates/ processed meals with added sodium rather than actually consuming real salt!
So do yourself a favor and salt your foods. Your taste buds and your body will thank you.