Thursday, January 09, 2014

Important new information on salt....

Today's Post:  Thursday, 1-9-2013

There are a really large number of reasons to avoid a really high salt intake some of which we just discovered last year.

The average American has been eating enough salt to get something like 3500 mg a day.

That in turn means that fully HALF of all Americans have been taking in enough salt to cause them serious health problems!!

Here’s why:

But we now know that intakes over that cause the insides of your blood vessels, the endothelium, to be damaged.

That’s truly horrible because that causes heart disease and increased chronic inflammation which tends to cause cancers.  It also causes gout!  And, once the damage is there it causes high blood pressure that is hard to lower even if the salt intake is lowered after the fact.

Secondly, the DASH diet that has zero junk food and very little sugars and LOTS of nonstarchy vegetables lowers blood pressure if it’s high.  AND the DASH II diet that adds cutting salt intake to 1500 mg a day lowers high blood pressure even more.  In fact, it even lowers blood pressure a bit in people who had normal blood pressure down to the level now thought to be ideal.

So, the evidence is very clear.  Everyone should get less than 3,000 mg a day of salt and at least some people should get 1500 mg a day or less.

But for the lower number 1500 mg a day or less, there are two problems:

1.  Even though you can indeed do wonders with other spices particularly if you use them with extra virgin olive oil to soften and meld the flavors, there are many dishes that simply taste too bland and flat without any salt.

Always doing without the best tasting food is a bit much to ask of yourself or other people.  And, in practice most people won’t do it!

2.  There are some studies that show MORE health problems for salt intakes lower than 3,000 mg a day.

So, what is the optimum answer given those two things?

There is really good news to give us that answer now!

Salt is sodium chloride.   The sodium from other sources is damaging too if you get too much of it.  And, there are several other salts with chloride that tend to lower blood pressure, including magnesium and potassium and calcium chloride.

So, might it be the case that cutting out MSG totally (the S stands for Sodium), keeping other sodium intake low, and keeping sodium chloride salt below 1500 BUT getting a bit MORE of the other salts with chloride solve this problem?

We’ve already known that sea salt, which has a mixture of other chlorides besides sodium chloride and magnesium and potassium chlorides DOES give you a salty taste with far less sodium.

But what about the health data that cutting back a lot on salt can be harmful for some people.

Towards the end of last year, that missing piece showed up!

And, it completely supports the idea of getting 1500 mg a day of sodium chloride or less AND adding MORE of the other chloride salts also solves the health problem.

In fact it has health BENEFITS!

Just before Christmas the Resperate Journal email, Lower Pressure News had the information that low chloride intake IS harmful.

"Too much salt in the diet - and specifically sodium - is widely acknowledged as a major risk factor for high blood pressure however, scientists have found that salt's constituent chloride might also play an important role. To-date, the role of chloride in hypertension has received little attention from scientists.

After analyzing data from almost 13,000 patients with high blood pressure followed up over 35 years, the researchers found that : low levels of chloride was associated with a higher risk of death and cardiovascular disease, making it an independent indicator of mortality risk in people with hypertension.

In fact, those with the lowest level of chloride in their blood had a 20 percent higher mortality rate compared to the other subjects."

So the health answer to:  Is cutting sodium salt but adding a bit of other chloride salts to make up for it a good idea is a VERY definite YES.

So cutting sodium chloride TO 1500 mg a day is OK.  Reducing it below that very well may NOT be.  AND, using sea salt and magnesium and potassium chloride a bit MORE is likely also good for you.

And, that’s IN ADDITION to making your food taste better!

Some sea salts are hard to find at the store.  They come in several colors.  They tend to cake up and be a bit hard to cook with. And, they are NOT iodized which some people need for good health.

But I accidentally found a solution at Whole Foods!  The healthier food company Hain, makes an iodized sea salt you can buy at Whole Foods that solves those problems!

You can also buy magnesium chloride as a spice or at least I saw it in that form once.  Unfortunately when I looked online just now all I found was magnesium chloride as a supplement.  But if you have found a source for it as a table spice, please leave a comment with that.

I did find “No Salt  Salt Substitute, 11-Ounce Can” on Amazon for potassium chloride with good reviews of its taste.

For the sea salt, you can also often only use it AFTER you taste the food.  Sometimes the food will taste fine without it.

So using other spices; always avoiding MSG which means NOT eating fast food among other things; minimizing canned foods; eliminating bread; and salting your food that needs salt to taste good with Hain Sea Salt or the No Salt potassium chloride will do the job for you.

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