The truth about salt – friend or foe?

News posted by Nikki Harris


Do you know how much salt you consume daily?

Ideally we should be consuming no more than 6g (just over a teaspoon) of salt per day! The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it should be even lower at 5g daily whilst some countries such as Finland have brought theirs down to just 3g.

Would it surprise you to know that actually most of us are averaging around 8g a day, with most of that coming from processed foods?

So what is the problem?

Salt has had lots of bad publicity with lobby groups such as The Lobby Group World Action on Salt and Health (WASH) attributing salt with the single biggest factor in controlling blood pressure:

“There is an established relationship between salt intake and risk of high blood pressure [and] high blood pressure is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease”.

Guess what …

Research conducted over the past 20 years is now contradicting this theory! The latest research from McMaster University in Canada has discovered that those with the lowest levels of urinary sodium excretion – less than 3g daily – suffered more fatal and non-fatal heart attacks and strokes than those excreting larger amounts.

So what are we to believe?

Despite all public health warnings, it would now appear that only people with high blood pressure (hypertension) need to mind their salt intake. It is not about the amount of salt consumed but the type of salt that really matters.

Refined salt has been through rigorous processing that involves re-crystallisation at over 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, subsequently removing most of its health-giving properties.  The refining process also involves the use of aluminium, ferro cyanide, bleach and also anti-caking agents and fluoride in some countries.

By comparison, unrefined salt such as Celtic Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt contains approximately 84 trace minerals which help to balance many bodily functions.  They help to promote a healthy pH balance of cells, to regulate the body’s natural sleep cycles, to regulate blood sugar levels and balance adrenal gland function and also help to prevent muscle aches and cramps.

How can you tell the difference?

The minerals in unrefined salt give the salt a distinctive colour unlike the ‘pure white’ refined stuff!  Depending on the mineral levels some may appear greyish or reddish in colour.  It’s also harder to sprinkle onto your food and it is not as fine as refined salt.

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Contact Emma at Woburn Osteopaths this week for advice or a nutrition consultation:


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