Pass the Salt, Hold the Chips!

I’m old enough to remember the egg cholesterol phobia. Watch out the experts said, eating eggs is bad for you and the same misguided experts have created a salt phobia yes, but if you’re eating a varied diet and you keep processed foods out of your diet you’ll be fine. It’s not the salt on your table that’s the problem, it’s the salt in processed foods we Americans consume daily. 38% of Americans are obese; that’s bad news if you’re one of them and it’s great news for the drug industry who makes billions on sick Americans.

Back to the salt debate. Here’s the no debate part. Your body needs the sodium chloride molecule for countless life essential processes like muscle contraction, nerve impulse function and blood pressure regulation.

Sodium helps the body absorb Vitamin C and helps the body utilize Vitamin C in bone and brain tissue. The chloride part of salt (about 60%) helps make hydrochloric acid for digestion of food and the absorption of foods. It is helpful in moderating bacterial overgrowth.

The guidelines set by the American Heart Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietics are 1500 mg. A number of health professionals believe this level is too low. I agree. Remember I mentioned earlier the faulty science that made Americans fearful of saturated fat and cholesterol. Common sense can go a long way when it comes to health. I’m not worried if you sprinkle some salt on your popcorn. It’s the fast food fries, and 32 oz of high fructose corn syrup that should concern you.

Too little sodium can lead to increased cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. Lower sodium intake has been associated with greater insulin resistance. Additionally, a number of health conditions increase our salt requirements. Inflammatory bowel disease, gluten intolerance, and celiac disease inhibit salt absorption. Americans consume an average of 3400 mg of salt daily and about 70% of that comes from processed foods.

So, no, you don’t have to cut out salt completely from your diet. But a moderate and diverse diet can lead to healthy sodium levels, and in turn, better overall health. For more information on integrated health and wellness practices, visit Johnson Chiropractic or call us at (919) 876-2212.

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