Salt is essential to life and good health. Salt works with water in our bodies to provide critical bodily functions and chemical reactions – metabolism, transportation of nutrients, and promotion of digestion. Our bodies cannot manufacture salt, but rather they process salt from the foods that we eat. Some foods – sweet, salty and fatty – people, crave from birth.
Our bodies are designed to crave these foods to derive energy and essential nutrients from them. The satisfying taste of a salty french fry, potato chip, or pretzel allows our bodies to consume sufficient amounts of sodium and chloride. Manufacturers know this and add sugar, salt and fat to almost all their foods to hook us in. The problem is that our instinctive liking of these flavors can lead to drastic overeating of these foods and cause serious health issues.
Almost all the health experts agree that Americans should consume less than 2,400 mg of salt per day – about a teaspoon – yet the average American consumes approximately 4,000 mg of sodium daily. Unfortunately, salt is added to almost every processed or refined food, and is found in large quantities in fast food. Americans cannot avoid salt.
Salt is found in:
- Canned soups
- Frozen food
- Salad dressings
Diets high in sodium are a significant cause of high blood pressure or hypertension. These diets also increase the risk of stroke, heart attack and cancer. You need to do whatever you can to minimize your salt intake.
There are many kinds of salt. Natural salts have different mineral composites, which give each salt a unique flavor, and have launched a gourmet trend in the U.S. for different kinds of salt. Sea salt is bitter due to its magnesium and calcium compounds, but is very popular with healthy-minded people.