Is salt good for us or not? The human body cannot live without sodium, but excessive amounts can lead to high blood pressure. Salt is most commonly known for flavoring food, but there are many types and uses that are actually beneficial.
Our body uses salt to balance fluids in the blood and maintain healthy blood pressure. Because high salt intake is associated with hypertension, heart disease and osteoporosis, people are told to avoid it. However, we rarely hear that not enough sodium can cause hyponatremia, a condition where the body holds too much water, diluting the amount of sodium in the blood and causing imbalance in our fluids. This condition can be life-threatening to the elderly. So, we need salt and without it we would not be alive, but as with everything in life, balance is key.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends a daily intake of 2,400mg (six grams) per day. Did you know that 80 percent of the salt we consume is in processed foods like bread, pasta, canned foods and lunch meats? Five percent is added during cooking; six percent is added at the table and 12 percent is naturally occurring.1 and packaged foods and focus on eating fresh, whole foods.
Which salts are the best for seasoning? Himalayan pink salt which is rich in minerals; Hawaiian black salt and India Kala namak, both good for digestion and removing impurities; and amethyst purple bamboo salt which contains higher levels of iron, potassium and calcium and is used medicinally in Asian and Taoist healing.
In traditional Chinese medicine, breathing in salt provides a natural anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal therapy. Salt caves, which are commonly found in Europe and exist in the desert, use a halo generator to grind and dispense the salt through the air. Inhaling salt does not affect blood pressure.
Soaking in salt
Epsom salt is not actually salt; it is pure magnesium chloride that is dissolved in water to bathe or soak. Absorbing this “salt” through the skin is a very healthy way to support bones, improve skin, promote relaxation and ease muscle tension. Another soaking option is Dead Sea salt which comes from low lying Desert Jordon in the Middle East where the Dead Sea evaporates, leaving quantities of salt behind that contain 10 times more minerals than table salt. It is said to be the highest quality for relaxation, soothing sore muscles, providing relief for skin conditions, skin hydration and joint function support.
It is beneficial to soak your feet in salt baths three to four times a week, thus a quick home spa recipe combines soaking salts with essential oils and maybe even fresh flowers like lavender or rose. Of course, we are very lucky to have some of the most mineral-dense soaking baths in the world located right here in Desert Hot Springs, so treat yourself to discover how healthy salt can be.
Diane Sheppard is a licensed acupuncturist and doctor of traditional Chinese medicine. She is the owner of AcQpoint Wellness Center in Palm Desert and can be reached at (760) 345.2200 or visit www.AcQPoint.com.
Reference: 1) https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/take-it-with-a-grain-of-salt