Sodium or salt is somewhat of a controversial mineral.
In North America, it is a staple of our diet, sometimes to the extent that it becomes poisonous.
While there are 14 essential minerals we should be consuming everyday, sodium is off all importance.
In this article we will review the benefits of sodium, which salt is the best and how much we need in our daily diet.
Benefits of sodium
(1) May reduce blood pressure
A low sodium diet, can help reduce blood pressure in a significant way. A recent study demonstrated that
Even a modest reduction in salt can lead to a reduction in blood pressure with people with both high and modest levels.
(2) May help decrease cancer risk
High levels of salt have been shown to increase cancer risk. In a review of 75 studies for more than 6,300 000 people found that for every five-gram increase of dietary salt per day can cause stomach cancer by 12%.
On the other hand, lower levels of salt have found to protect us from cancer.
(3) Improves diet quality
If one decides to choose to eat less salt, in consequence he or she must be eating less processed and packaged foods who are not only loaded with unhealthy salts but also sugar and conservatives.
What salt is the best?
Not all salts are made equal. While we can go in depth of each salt and their benefits, let’s
focus on sea salt and rock salt.
Sea salt is created by evaporating sea/ocean water or the water from saltwater lakes. Once the water has been evaporated, sodium and chlorine are left behind, along with other minerals. These minerals can include magnesium, potassium, calcium, and strontium.
However, sea salt quality depends on the quality of the sea water. If the sea water is contaminated, then the salt will follow suit.
Rock salt comes from salts that are mined, either through excavation or underground deposits or through solution mining. Solution mining involves the digging of a well above the salt beds, with injection of fresh water and pumping of brine to the surface. Pink Salt or Himalayan salt, should be the salt of choice because of it’s high mineral quantity and purity.
How much sodium do we need?
Believe it or not, our relationship with salt is a toxic one. The average North American adult consumes somewhere between 2,900 and 3,500 milligrams of sodium per day, and most of this sodium comes from salt, either incorporated into processed, prepackaged foods or added to foods at the table. (Plain table salt, of course, is composed of sodium and chloride, with 40% of the composition coming from sodium.
In general, according to recent guidelines, an adequate intake of sodium is around 1,500 for males and female ages 9-50; 1,300 milligrams for ages 51-70; and 1,200 milligrams for ages above 70 years.
Finally, salt in small amounts and provided from good sources is essential for life and is an important mineral for our bodies to be consuming.
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