Skip the Salt: Why Table Salt Is Off the Table When Clean Eating
Our bodies require salt.
In fact, every cell in our body needs salt. Salt is important in keeping the proper mineral balance in practically all living creatures, including us humans. Salt is necessary for maintaining good bone density, proper blood circulation and stabilized blood sugar levels.
But, there is a problem…!
The problem is that:
1) The average person is consuming entirely the wrong kind of salt! The table salt you buy at the grocery store (sodium chloride) has been so highly processed and has so many toxic chemicals and additives that it functions more like a poison in the body.
2) The average person’s diet today usually includes far more salt than the daily nutritional requirement which is1,500 milligrams of sodium each day (less than 1 teaspoon), whether it is table or sea salt. Most of this salt comes from the foods we eat, whether in the form of natural salts in meat or even celery, or unfortunately, processed sodium that is added to the food we are served in restaurants or contained in packaged food, processed food, frozen food, deli food, junk food, canned food, etc.
The bottom line is that most people do not need to add salt to their food to meet daily nutritional requirements. We already get more than enough salt, and adding table salt to the food we are consuming is detrimental to our heath .
Just Say No To Table Salt
Here’s the bottom line: Put down the salt shaker and throw away the table salt you have in your home. (Actually don’t throw it out – you can use it for killing weeds or preventing wet wood from staining, so put it in your garage with other toxic chemicals!). You should absolutely not be adding table salt (sodium chloride to your food).
This is a powerful part of how to eat clean, but even people who are not following the clean eating lifestyle should not be using table salt. No one should be putting table salt on or in their food or baking. Period.
The American Heart Association recommends having no more than 2,400 mg of sodium per day. They also state that reducing daily intake to 1,500 mg is preferable because it can lower blood pressure even further. Processed foods are often high in sodium, whereas whole, fresh foods typically are not. Look at the ingredient lists on the common foods you’ve been eating to discover the amount of sodium you’ve been consuming – you’ll be surprised.
Instead of cooking with salt, use herbs and spices to add flavor. I’ll give you some great ideas in the section on Seasonings.
What Table Salt is Bad
The table salt we typically buy at the grocery store, use in our homes, get in the food we are served in restaurants, or which is contained in packaged food, processed food, frozen food, deli food, junk food, canned food, etc. is heavily processed, manufactured salt.
Its’ a “manufactured” form of sodium called sodium chloride.
Unlike naturally occurring rock salt (Himalyan), crystal salt, or sea salt, table salt merely mimics the taste of these completely natural salts.
Refined white table salt is seriously stripped of anything and everything that makes salt beneficial…
According to the Mayo Clinic, as well as countless other highly reliable sources, standard table salt is typically mined from underground salt deposits, but the processing that occurs afterward strips all the minerals from it; and then synthetic chemical additives are injected into it for various purposes, including to prevent the salt from clumping.
These chemicals include everything from manufactured chemicals such as sodium solo-co-aluminate, iodide, sodium bicarbonate, fluoride, anti-caking agents, toxic amounts of potassium iodide and aluminium derivatives.
The natural forms of healthy iodine that exist in natural salt is lost through the manufacturing process for table salt. Without this natural iodine, the thyroid lacks the nourishment that salt would normally provide, and this leads to metabolism issues or tumors. Because of this, the chemical-based salt industry began to add synthetic forms of iodine to their products. Some salt manufacturers also add toxic MSG (mono-sodium-glutamate).
And what about the color of table salt? According to Dr. Edward Group of the Global Healing Center, salt in its natural form is not usually that pure bright white. You may be alarmed to find out that table salt has bleach added to it to give it the bright white color. Moreover, according to Dr. Group, a lot of the manufactured table salt we use today is extracted from a flaky residue from oil digging; yes, crude oil extract is one way table salt is produced.
It’s frightening to realize that most table salt is not only unhealthy, but can sometimes be toxic.
As mentioned a moment back, in the manufacturing process, table salt is created by taking natural salt and heating the heck out of it at 1200° Fahrenheit. Once the natural, unprocessed salt is heated up to this temperature, it starts to lose the majority of the eighty important elements that are naturally occurring in salt. So there goes the value and benefit of the salt. And then all of those additives and chemicals we talked about get added.
So the salt we end up with on our tables, in the food we eat, and in our bodies has had all the health benefits stripped from it – and has many unhealthy chemicals added to it.
How Table Salt Harms Your Body
If you’ve ever been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you were probably advised by your doctor to stop using table salt. If you weren’t told that by your doctor, you should have been! This is pretty standard and important medical advice when dealing with hypertension.
Why? Remember all those toxic additives we just talked about?
Table salt causes blood pressure to rise because the blood is attempting to move those toxic elements rapidly away from the heart.
Moreover, the additives in table salt cause our bodies to retain water and other fluids. (That’s why its so common to quickly drop pounds simply by cutting out salt from your diet).
Many chronic health problems such as diabetes, gout and obesity can be worsened or even partially caused by the imbalances caused by intake of common table salt.
When you add up all of the salt an average person ingests through not just use of the salt shaker, but by way of the salt contained in so many of the foods we eat today, the levels of sodium most people are consuming tends to be excessive and unhealthy, even if you never pick up the salt shaker or add salt to your food.
Most packaged, premade, canned, and processed foods contains ridiculous levels of salt because salt is used as a common food preservative. The cumulative effect of the salt people ingest through premade foods, deli meats, convenience foods, packaged foods, frozen food, junk food, fast food and restaurant food can cause swelling and, over time, major kidney, thyroid and liver problems – as well as the development of goiters, asedema, hypertension, heart disease, strained elimination systems, muscle cramps, water retention, edema, stroke, heart failure, PMS, and even major nervous system disorders including anxiety and depression.
Table salt is particularly hard on both the circulatory system and nervous system. It also wreaks havoc on the delicate balance of the lymph system in the body.
On top of all of that, it has an addictive nature to it; the more the body becomes used to the high levels of manufactured sodium, it craves more of it, leading to a vicious cycle of continually feeding the body more of precisely what it shouldn’t have.
Healthy, Natural Salt Choices
Sea salt or Himalayan salt on the other hand, are healthy salts – as long as they are used in moderation (you should still use very little since as we said, there is also natural sodium in clean food like the meat we cook or even celery).
Sources of natural salts like Himalayan and sea salt vary – some comes from water or deposits from our oceans; or it may come from salt deposits found in or on the earth from evaporated water from now non-existent oceans in previous geological eras.
Sea salt is produced from evaporated ocean water or water from saltwater lakes. The water is allowed to evaporate in the sun, until only the salt remains. It typically has no other processing, or at most, very little. Because the salt is unprocessed, trace minerals and elements remain intact and fully bio-available to our bodies, as they should be.
Himalayan salt is also harvested and dried in the sun without any unnatural processing.
Every type of salt comes from a deposit that is created when salt water evaporates. There are two ways in which this evaporation takes place.
The first type of evaporation is part of a geological process in which an ocean or salt-water lake dried up many millions of years ago and sediments were laid down. Sometimes this salt can be found on the surface of the earth, such as the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Mostly, however, these salt beds are underground, and the salt that comes from them must be mined. This type of deposit is used for both table and sea salts. Sea salt is produced by hand and/or with some mechanization.
The second type of evaporation is a man-made process used for making table salt in which manufacturers try to mimic nature by evaporating salt water by baking it in intense heat until crystals form. Then it is processed with chemicals to reach a standard of desired quality (color, texture. etc. Table salt is produced this way in salt manufacturing refineries.
According to Marine Science, all salt deposits contain the same mixture of elements. No matter how much salt happens to be dissolved in a given drop of ocean, it is “always made up of the same types of salts and they are always in the same proportion to each other”: 85.62% sodium chloride and 14.38% other trace minerals: sulphate, magnesium, calcium, potassium, bicarbonate, bromide, borate, strontium, and fluoride (in descending order of quantity).
Sea salts retain the trace elements while table salt has been processed to remove trace elements and include chemical additives.
The naturally occurring minerals add flavor and color to sea salt. They are alkaline minerals that help keep us hydrated, balance our sodium-potassium ratios, as well as fill the body with powerful electrolytes. They also contain all of the trace elements needed for proper immune, thyroid and adrenal function (that are completely stripped out of table salt). Real, unprocessed forms of salt also boost the production of digestive enzymes and juices that allow us to extract and assimilate other vitamins and nutrients from the food we eat.
Sea salt does not contain less sodium than table salt (some people are confused about this and mistakenly believe that is why it is healthier). According to the Mayo Clinic, “By weight, sea salt and table salt contain about the same amount of sodium chloride.”
So, to sum it up, the difference between table salt and sea salt (or Himalayan salt) is in the fact that the processing of table salt strips away the minerals that are good for the body, and injects chemical additives that are bad for the body; whereas sea salt or Himalayan salt is unprocessed with all the naturally occurring minerals and elements still present for the body to make use of, and has no chemical additives.
Himalayan salt or sea salt can be purchased in health food stores or natural food store, or see the resources section at the back of this book for online sources I recommend.
See salt and Himalayan salt comes in a variety of coarseness levels. You may find that some sea salt still has a tiny bit of wetness to it – that just shows how completely natural it is! As a result, sometimes sea salt can be challenging to pour out of the box – the slight wetness causes the salt crystals to stick together. Remember, sea salt is natural and unprocessed, so there are none of those toxic ant-clumping agents to prevent this – and that’s a good thing! The solution to that is to let some sea salt sit in an open container to allow it to sufficiently dry out before you put it in your salt container.
You may also find that some sea salt is not pure white in color – it may be off white, or even look a little gray. Again, this is nothing to be alarmed about. This is the natural color of a lot of sea salt, and you can take comfort in knowing it hasn’t had toxic bleach added to it.
Himalayan salt has a pretty soft pink color to it. It is said to be the absolute healthiest type of salt there is – superior, in fact, to sea salt.
According to the well renowned health expert, and New York Times best selling author Dr.Joseph Mercola, the reason for this is that Himalayan salt is sourced from pure areas without environmental pollutants, whereas sea salt comes from our oceans, which as we know are sadly becoming polluted at an alarming rate. Therefore, says Dr.Mercola, today’s sea salt is not nearly as pure as it used to be.
Keep in mind, we get our seafood from these same oceans. Sea salt certainly is no more affected than sea food. However, if we had the ability to choose seafood that came from an area with no environmental pollutants, most of us probably would. In the case of Himalayan salt, we have that choice.
Dr.Joseph Mercola points out that Himalayan salt contains at least 84 naturally occurring trace elements in their natural mineral form, with the benefits of natural Himalayan Crystal Salt being:
- Regulating the water content throughout your body
- Promoting healthy pH balance in your cells, particularly your brain cells
- Promoting blood sugar health
- Assisting in the generation of hydroelectric energy in cells in your body
- Absorption of food particles through your intestinal tract
- Supporting respiratory health
- Promoting sinus health
- Prevention of muscle cramps
- Promoting bone strength
- Regulating your sleep (it naturally promotes sleep)
- Supporting your libido
- Promoting vascular health
- In conjunction with water, it is actually essential for the regulation of your blood pressure
Sources: The Mayo Clinic and The Global Healing Center