Salt or more commonly seen on a nutrition label as sodium, has become an ingredient that is found in more foods than you can think of. This mineral is absolutely necessary for the body but too much of a good thing can cause dangerous effects to your health. A healthy adult requires around 2,300mg of sodium per day, which is equivalent to about 2.3g or about half a teaspoon of salt. Those with high blood pressure (hypertension) should consume around 1500mg of salt per day. This is all your body needs to perform its daily functions and exceeding these amount long term, may be detrimental to your health.
Foods That Are High In Salt Content:
Red Animal Meats & Prawns
Processed & Cured Meats (Sausages, Bacon & Deli Meats)
Chips, Pretzels, Popcorn, Salted Nuts
Canned & Pickled Foods
Cuppa Soups & Canned Soups
White Bread Products
Baked Goods (Cakes, Muffins, Doughnuts, Biscuits)
Sauces (Soy, Tomato, Pasta Sauce)
Stock Cubes & Food Salts (Chicken Salt, Garlic Salt)
Spreads (Vegemite, Peanut Butter, Margarine, Butter)
Foods That Are Low In Salt Content:
Fruits & Vegetables
Whole-grain or Whole-wheat Pasta & Rice
Dairy Products (Yoghurt, Milk, Eggs & Some Cheeses)
Fish & Chicken
Couscous, Beans, Lentils & Chickpeas
Oats and Bran Cereals
Unsalted Nuts or Popcorn
Fresh or Dry Herbs & Spices
Keep an eye on nutrition labels as salt is quite an extensive ingredient in most foods, it is used as a preservative to prolong shelf-life and it also gives flavour to many foods. It can become quite easy to exceed your daily intake of sodium in just a few products, not to mention the additional salt that might be added to the top of your meals.
Salt & Water Association:
Where salt goes, water goes!
Water follows salt in your body and wherever salt travels to, water will follow. Your body transfers water out of your cells when salt levels increase to attempt to maintain the correct water to sodium ratios. If water didn't maintain balance (homeostasis) and dilute the salt concentration, your body would become too salty and cells would die. This increase of water in your arteries (blood vessels) can contribute to increased blood pressure and too much water leaving your cells can also leave you feeling dehydrated.
Pink or White Salt?
Common table salt is purified, a process that involves recrystallization of the salt crystals, which makes sodium chloride (salt) more likely to contribute to high blood pressure. Although, the one good thing about table salt is the added iodine, which is an essential mineral for the body. This fortified or added mineral can help improve those with iodine deficiencies. Common table salt consists of 3 ingredients including sodium, chloride and iodine.
Pink himalayan salt contains 84 essential minerals that are required by the body and consist of 85% sodium chloride and 15% minerals. Pink himalayan salt is a good source of magnesium, sulphate, calcium, and potassium and can help balance and regulate the body's pH and blood sugar levels, but even pink himalayan salt still consists of 85% sodium which can still cause blood pressure to increase if too much is consumed. You will also find that your desire or need to add salt will slowly decline when you switch to pink salt.
Keeping in mind that salt is still salt and salt is sodium, and too much sodium is bad for your body and health. Although, if you are going to add salt to your foods, choose a salt that is high in mineral content, such as pink himalayan salt and not just sodium and chloride.
Head Training Coach & Nutritionist