Just How Bad is Salt For Your Health

The latest is about how bad salt is for you. Webmd.com has an article saying that salt is as bad for you as smoking.

Cutting Salt as Good as Quitting Smoking

Jan. 22, 2010 — Cutting U.S. salt intake by just half a teaspoon a day would prevent up to 92,000 deaths, 99,000 heart attacks and 66,000 strokes — a benefit as big as smoking cessation.

“The [heart] benefits of reduced salt intake are on par with the benefits of population-wide reductions in tobacco use, obesity …” says Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, PhD.

There’s more good news. Once people cut back on salt — whether or not they know they are doing it — they begin to prefer less salt in their food. This happens in a matter of weeks.

So if you stop consuming salt or reduce salt intake, it will greatly benefit your cardiovascular health. Foods contain a lot less than 1% minerals like sodium. Salt is 40% sodium and is a rock, not a food.

Diet Myth or Truth: I Don’t Need to Worry About Sodium (webmd)

You don’t need to worry about the sodium in your diet unless you have a health condition like heart disease or high blood pressure — right?  Wrong. Americans love their salt, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a report saying that 2 out of 3 of us need to seriously cut back our sodium intake. 

It may not have calories, but sodium is not as innocent as many people think.  Too much sodium can increase the risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. This is cause for concern, as heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 3 killers of men and women in the United States each year. (Cancer is No. 2.)

Salt Detox Challenge | The Dr. Oz Show

A diet high in sodium is associated with health risks that include hypertension, vascular and cardiac damage, and obesity.

David Katz, M.D.: Salt: Who’s the Boss of You?

On April 20, the Washington Post reported that the FDA is planning to dial down the salt content in processed foods over a 10 year span by regulating the maximum levels allowed. It turns out this isn’t quite right. The FDA has been encouraged to do just this in a report on the subject by the Institute of Medicine, but hasn’t actually decided yet. In the end, though, the FDA is likely to follow the IOM’s advice.

First, it’s a good idea because an excess of sodium is linked to high blood pressure and consequently to stroke, the fourth leading cause of death and a major cause of disability in the US. Estimates vary, but some persuasively contend that excess sodium is the indirect cause of 150,000 premature deaths a year.

The native, Stone Age human diet provided roughly 10 times as much potassium as sodium (we actually get more sodium than potassium in the typical, modern diet).

Salt May Restrict Blood Flow to Heart (webmd)

Jan. 22, 2009 — Reducing the salt in your diet can help lower your blood pressure, but it may also lower your risk for having a heart attack or stroke in another important way.

The study measured the impact of salt restriction on the endothelium, the thin layer of cells that line the interior of the blood vessels and help regulate blood flow.

Overweight and obese study participants with normal blood pressure who restricted the sodium in their diets showed evidence of improved endothelial function compared to participants who did not restrict salt.

The improvement appeared to be unrelated to the impact on blood pressure, suggesting that salt restriction is independently protective of blood vessel function.

FAQ | Dr Fuhrman.com

Sodium is an important mineral that is essential to the body’s proper function – however, adding salt (sodium chloride) to food provides us with dangerously high amounts of sodium. The human body was designed to obtain the sodium it needs from natural foods [unprocessed-no added salt].

All salt originates from the ocean – expensive and exotic sea salts are still salt – they contain over 98% sodium chloride. They add sodium to the body, and so they have the same risks as regular table salt. Sea salts may contain small amounts of trace minerals, but the excess sodium is not any less harmful. [Note that the people selling sea salt want your money so they say that sea salt is healthy for you.]

Elevated blood pressure is not the only harmful consequence of high sodium intake – sodium has additional detrimental effects even in the absence of hypertension that contribute to coronary heart disease3, asthma4, stomach ulcers, and stomach cancer5.

Above Dr. Oz mentions that salt can cause obesity. Actually could most people have some excess weight due to salt (see link below)?

Losing Weight: Can Salt Make You Overweight

Above Dr Katz mentions potassium to sodium ratio. The body has a sodium-potassium pump in all the cells. If you increase potassium intake it causes the body to get rid of sodium quicker and easier. The FDA says to increase potassium intake and reduce sodium intake.

So besides reducing sodium intake from salt, eat more foods high in potassium like orange juice, coconut water, avocados, bananas, raisins, beans, greens like spinach and potatoes. I like golden, red and purple potatoes more than the brown ones. Raisins are concentrated grapes and a great snack. Organic ones taste the best. Cooked greens are concentrated greens with more poatssium.

Here are eating tips for better digestion. Drink as much liquid as you want and wait an hour after eating before drinking liquids again. That way you do not disturb digestion. Foods take hours to digest but fruit passes through your stomach in 15 minutes. So eat fruit on an empty stomach and wait 15 minutes before eating your meal. Raisins are a great snack to eat before meals or on an empty stomach to give you a lot of potassium. See this for latest information on the main cause of high blood pressure or hypertension.

Wikipedia says:

The sodium-potassium pump was discovered in the 1950s by a Danish scientist, Jens Christian Skou, who was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1997.

In order to maintain the cell membrane potential, cells must keep a low concentration of sodium ions and high levels of potassium ions within the cell (intracellular).

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