For the last 2 months, esp. here in NYC, we have been hearing about public health officials and some politicians wanting to not just force food companies to reduce the salt in their processed foods but to also make it a violation for a restaurant to cook w/ salt.
Now let me make myself perfectly clear: decreasing salt in processed foods, in general, is a good idea. A better idea would be not to eat any processed foods but I digress
And let me say that I recommend that people use sea salt rather than table salt as sea salt also contains other important mineral salts such as magnesium, potassium which helps regulate our blood pressure and naturally contains other trace minerals such as iodine. Commercial table salt is a chemically made product, the only “salt” in it is sodium chloride (also holds true for kosher salt) contains no other trace minerals and may contain additives like aluminum silicate in order to keep it “powdery and porous” http://www.causeof.org/salt.htm#SeaSaltIodized
The food companies have made a science of seducing our taste buds and our brains w/ the lore of sweet and salty especially with the huge swing towards low fat foods in the 1980’s & ‘90’s that the medical establishment told us to start eating in order to lower our cholesterol and prevent heart attacks and strokes.
And what happened: “The harder the experts try to save Americans, the fatter we get…..The anti-fat campaign definitely made an impact on the marketing of food, but as we gobbled up all the new low-fat products, we kept getting fatter. Eventually, in 2000, the experts revised the dietary guidelines and conceded that their anti-fat advice may have contributed to diabetes and obesity by unintentionally encouraging Americans to eat more calories.” http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/23/science/23tier.html?hpw
So I have to wonder if this cutting down of salt will contribute to new problems such as iodine deficiencies, dehydration problems, too low blood pressure and adrenal fatigue.
Concentrated primarily in the thyroid gland, iodine is a important trace mineral that plays an important role in the body’s biological functions. In fact, the U.S. government in the 1920’s recommended that iodine be added to table salt. The ruling was a strategy to ensure that an iodine deficiency didn’t develop in the American diet. And it worked pretty well
Iodine deficiency is involved in hypothyroidism, fatigue, depression, cretinism, weight gain and possible connections to breast cancer, thymus, salivary gland and oral health.
Iodine is found naturally in a number of foods such as seafood, seaweed, egg yolks and milk and plants grown in iodine rich soil.
Clearly if you are eating the above foods…and I hope that your milk is organic and your eggs free ranging and the soil your veggies grow in is not nutrient deprived and your fish not farmed; then you have a good chance of getting enough iodine. Add to that that you are not eating commercial bread, made w/ bromides (an iodine agonist) instead of iodine
Frequently in the summer months, I’ll have patients complain about fatigue and dizziness and after some questions about sweating, exercise, and their cooking practices, I usually discover that they didn’t use any salt in their cooking. They are the exact opposite of people who not only use salt for cooking but then add salt to their food when it’s on the plate. So balance is the key here, hot weather, sweating a great deal are good reasons to add a little more salt.
And again I’m talking about adding sea salt instead of table salt to your food as the potassium and magnesium salts in sea salt help w/ blood pressure
One of the functions of the adrenal gland is to produce mineralocorticoids which help keep your blood pressure and blood volume normal by maintaining a proper balance of sodium, potassium and water in your body. And so I’ve found find that patients w/ chronic adrenal fatigue crave salt.
So again moderate use of iodized sea salt is a good thing..just a pinch…not more that a 1/8 of a teaspoon…not the 1-2 teaspoons that I see when I watch cooking shows (yes, I yell at the TV..lol)
Here’s some websites you may find useful:
© -2010- Dr. Vittoria Repetto
added in 2011:
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/744014?src=mp&spon=18 Low Sodium and High Risk? Maybe It’s Not the Salt