What’s the deal with salt? Is it good for us, bad for us; should we use it, should we avoid it; Is it important for our health, is it bad for our health? As a nutritionist, sometimes I cringe when I read certain things or hear people say, “I have to limit my salt intake.” I want to break it down into a simple way to look at salt as you consider how to include it in your diet.
Let’s start with the Ugly: table salt. Ugly—not healthy for us, according to many research studies and analyses. Table salt is iodized, which is believed to be supportive of the thyroid, so many people take it, thinking they are doing something good for their body. But there are also other things in table salt which are bad for the body, so the benefits of having iodine in the salt is negated. Some table salt even has sugar added to it! When your doctor tells you to avoid salt, this is the type of salt they are talking about. Look at the ingredients label! Who knew salt even had to have an ingredients label?!
Another ugly feature of salt is the added salt in processed foods. This form of salt or sodium adds up just from the amount you are getting when you eat these processed foods. Yes, you can get too much pure sodium from table salt and processed foods. This is not good for your health in many ways.
Let’s look at the Bad: believe it or not, I’m going to say sea salt. Yes, with the pollution in our oceans, sea salt has now been showing contamination from pollutants when tested. I don’t know how to test it myself, nor do I know which sea salt is less contaminated than the others, so I am doing my best to avoid sea salt. It has been featured in the Misner Plan, the eating and lifestyle plan Ivan and I both used to beat cancer using alternative therapies and continue to use to stay healthy, but as we learn more and as the environment becomes more contaminated in new ways, things have to change. Sea salt is not our number one choice. It’s better than table salt because it is not pure sodium and has other minerals that are beneficial to our body’s chemical processes. So it’s not in the Ugly category. The only exception I am making is for the brand Real Salt, which comes from the dried up flats of a salty sea which no longer comes in contact with the ocean (sad to think of our seas as this polluted, isn’t it?).
So what is the Good salt? From my perspective, it’s Himalayan rock salt or mineral salt. This type of salt includes over 80 other minerals the body needs desperately to perform the myriad of complex functions it does on a daily basis. Himalayan salt is a lovely pink shade, comes in finely ground, coarsely ground, or chunks you can grind for yourself as you use it. It also comes in the form of a bath soak, a skin scrub, and in some other skin care products. It is the salt of choice in the Misner Plan.
Some other salts I don’t have time to discuss in this blog, unless I want it to turn into a small e-Book, are volcanic salt (black salt from Hawaii, for example—Good category) and Epsom salt (also in the Good category and great for soaking the body in several times a week for the mineral absorption . . . . But avoid the scented versions, which contain “natural” scents—usually chemically derived parfums and not from the actual essential oils). Okay, I have to stop now, or I really will be releasing an e-Book.
That’s the scoop on salt. Use it, but choose from the Good category when you can and AVOID the Bad category of salt.