If you’ve been paying attention to various media outlets during the last two decades, you’ve likely heard so much contradictory information regarding salt.
Whenever salt comes up in conversation, there are multiple opinions on the matter.
That doesn’t make sense though, right? Salt, or sodium chloride, is the main source of sodium for humans. It has a clear effect on our bodies. So, why do we not know more?
Well, the truth is: We know quite a lot.
The problem is, media will put effort behind anything that is sensational. That means if one “expert” makes claims of salt being unhealthy for you – that’s what gets pushed. If the following month a different expert comes forward to say “actually, we need more salt”- yes, the media will push that too.
What Is Salt Made Of?
Salt is sodium chloride. That’s a compound featuring a sodium ion and a chlorine ion.
If you get refined salt, there’s very little change to that.
If you get sea salt, it will usually contain trace amounts of other elements. In very small amounts,it can be positive for human health. This is where many brands will make health claims about certain types of salt.
Salt is roughly 40% sodium. Sodium is an electrolyte for our bodies.
Electrolytes are the driving component for correct nerve function and muscle operation. Without them, the water in our body would not be regulated. There have been situations in the past where people suffer severe health complications and even death from electrolyte imbalances. A person’s salt intake will dictate much of the balance between sodium and the other electrolytes.
Health professionals will often warn you to stay hydrated during spells of sickness. This is because you can often lose large quantities of electrolytes during vomiting, diarrhea or even sweating!
Sodium in large quantities was linked to increased blood pressure and increased risk factors for heart disease. On top of that, it was found to have a negative effect on the calcium found in the body.
So, even your bones are at risk from too much salt consumption!
But the most difficult point to wrap your head around, is that recently, a study pointed out increased salt intake leads to an increase in circulating IL-17.
IL-17 is a cytokine that helps your immune system and leads to inflammatory responses. In most allergic reactions, IL-17 will be involved.
The increased actions in the body, caused by IL-17, promotes the dysfunction of your endothelium – the lining of your blood vessels.
That doesn’t sound good, does it?
Well, one of the subsequent symptoms is a loss of brain function. In the study featuring this new information, the mice being fed a high-salt diet (equivalent to a high-salt diet for humans) ended up with less blood flow to the brain and lost very basic functions. They could no longer find their way out of a maze that they had previously completed – shockingly, they couldn’t build nests for themselves anymore either!
Cognitive ability is impaired significantly when blood flow is limited for just a short period of time. Now, imagine what happens after years of decreased blood flow! Alzheimer’s disease has been linked to a low blood-volume to the brain. The brain needs oxygen and glucose to function and both are carried there via your blood vessels.
How Much Salt is Too Much?
We don’t claim to be doctors and if you’re unsure about your diet, you should contact a medical or diet professional to seek help.
With that being said, it seems to be agreed upon by most, that the World Health Organization’s recommendation of less than 2,000mg of sodium per day is the goal. That would equate to a salt intake of around 5g.
There are some groups, however, that suggest consuming no more than 1,200mg of sodium per day or a salt intake of just 3g.
If you’re going to have to cut back on your salt, let us help you out. Here are some low-sodium recipes for you to try!
Pink Radish Soup
This dish is excellent for serving guests. It’s easy to prepare and it looks pretty cool! A healthy burst of nutrients without the high sodium content.
- Green Onion
Sodium Content (per serving): 105mg
Chicken with Brussels Sprouts and Pea Shoots
Low-carb and full of protein and vitamin C. Don’t let the brussels sprouts fool you, it tastes amazing!
- Chicken Breast
- Brussels Sprouts
- Pea Shoots
Sodium Content (per serving): 95mg
Cauliflower Tabouli (Tabbouleh)
This recipe will have your meal ready in a matter of minutes. How often can you have a meal that’s fast to prepare and can still be considered healthy?
- Bell Pepper
- Red Onion
Sodium Content (per serving): 80mg
Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
Despite the name, this is a dairy-free recipe. Even if you like real cheese, just give this recipe a chance – you will not be disappointed!
- Carrot Baby-food
- Almond Meal
- Coconut Milk
Sodium Content (per serving): 115mg