Salt not only enhances the flavor of the foods we eat and we cook, it is also essential for regulating important processes in the body such as controlling blood pressure and it is an essential electrolyte that helps the brain and nerves send electrical impulses throughout the body.
In large amounts, salt can bind water in the bloodstream and raise blood pressure, so many health organizations recommend that people limit salt intake. Yet, low sodium levels can cause health problems as well.
2,300 milligrams is the recommended daily consumption of sodium for the average adult, but an increase in that number can be beneficial for individuals who sweat due to temperatures or exercise, those who suffer from adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalances, or too low of blood pressure, and other reasons such as taking diuretic medications.
The potentially harmful effects of too much salt have caused many people to move in the opposite direction and take in too little salt, causing health issues such as Hyponatremia, heart failure, decreased heart health, and insulin resistance.
Hyponatremia is when the sodium level in the blood is too low, which can lead to headaches, seizures, brain swelling, comma, and even death. Anyone who avoids sodium all together, athletes, and anyone who drinks a lot of water without replenishing sodium can experience Hyponatremia.
—Increased Levels of LDL Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Studies have found that limiting salt may raise LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, which are common risk factors for heart disease. High levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides can increase the risk for heart disease and stroke.
In a 2003 a study placed healthy people on low-sodium diets that caused a 4.6% increase in LDL cholesterol and a 5.9% increase in triglycerides.
Insulin resistance is when the body's cells don't respond well to signals from the hormone insulin, leading to higher insulin and blood sugar levels. High blood sugar and insulin levels can lead to type 2 diabetes and other health issues such as weight gain and cholesterol abnormalities.
A study of 152 healthy people found that insulin resistance increased after only 7 days on a low-sodium diet
—Heart Disease and Heart Failure
Too much sodium can cause high blood pressure, but studies have also shown that low sodium levels can lead to an increased risk of death from strokes or heart attacks. Heart failure is when the heart is not able to pump enough blood around the body to meet its needs for blood and oxygen, it doesn’t necessarily mean the heart stops completely. Low low-sodium diets have been linked to an increased risk of death in people who do experience heart failure.
Controlled trials have found that limiting sodium intake increases the risk of dying from a sudden heart attack.
Studies have found that people who restricted their sodium intake had a 160% higher risk of death from heart failure. This is an important consideration since people with heart issues are frequently advised to go on low-sodium diets.
Too much or too little sodium can lead to health issues…
Balance is the key!
The Sea Salt Difference
All salt (table, kosher, sea salt) consist mostly of sodium and chloride. At Wild Zora, we use natural sea salt in our food products. Most table salt is mined from underground salt deposits and is highly refined, removing most of the trace minerals—table salt and some kosher salt also have added anti-caking ingredients. Natural sea salt has no added chemicals or additives and contains trace levels of minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium and other nutrients.
Wild Zora Uses Natural Sea Salt
The most commonly used anti-caking agent is sodium aluminosilicate, but there is a long list of additives used to keep salt from clumping, including phosphate, bicarbonates, ferrocyanides, silicates, trililicate, citrates, dioxides, acid, and even wood pulp.
Anti-caking agents can be absorbed into the brain, bones, liver, heart, spleen, and muscles. Chemical deposits in the body have been linked to some types of anemia, kidney failure, bone density decline, and neurological conditions such as Alzheimers and dementia.
As with many food additives, the FDA has labeled anti-caking ingredients as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) to consume if the amount is below a certain threshold. This amount for a serving is for a daily intake, so if you consume multiple foods with added anti-caking ingredients (or foods with table salt), you’re exceeding the GRAS level recommended by the FDA.
What About Iodine?
Table salt has added iodine, which is one of the arguments for consuming the white stuff (table salt). The human body needs trace amounts of iodine for proper development and growth. It exists in most soils, and it is absorbed by plants.
Iodine deficiency can be the cause of various health problems, including hypothyroidism, which can lead to fatigue, endemic goiter (enlarged thyroid gland), slowed metabolism (therefore weight gain), and cold intolerances. If you’re a healthy person, eating a balanced diet, you’re unlikely to have an iodine deficiency. Foods like grass-fed dairy, fish, seaweed and other sea vegetables, as well as vegetables grown in iodine-rich soils are all high in iodine. Kelp tablets taken a couple of time a week can also provide iodine for someone who avoids table salt.
Table salt is ground and mixed with anti-caking agents to make it fine and keep it from clumping. The processing strips it of nutrients, adds harmful additives, and doesn’t make it taste any better…
So Why Use It?
Sea salt is made by evaporating seawater—it is minimally processed and so it retains trace the trace properties of calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium. Sea salt also contains slightly lower amounts of sodium than regular salt, and many people, chefs included, think it tastes better.
Sea salt has many benefits because it can help balance the minerals in your body.
Sea salt can help boost the immune system, reduce water retention, lower the bodies acid level, and help the body heal more quickly from injuries. Sea salt also helps to reduce congestion in the nasal passages and lungs as it helps to eliminate mucus.
For proper body balance and function salt is important, and the kind of salt is important. Like all of Wild Zora’s ingredient choices, we use sea salt not just for flavor, but also for the benefits it provides for optimal health.