We all know that salt brings out the best in food. It is the one seasoning that can boost the flavour factor of any dish, in just small pinches. But there has long been a debate about the potential benefits or detriments of using salt.
But, there has been increasing scientific work, especially over the past two decades to suggest that modern society is using far too much salt and there is a clear link with all forms of cardiovascular disease, in particular hypertension.
World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a daily intake of 2 grams of sodium, which is 5 grams of salt or one teaspoon a day. When we consume high intake of sodium, the body retains water to dilute it and also pulls out water from the cells, causing dehydration and water overload that leads to bloating. Moreover, kidneys stop the excretion of urine to dilute the sodium. Excessive sodium in the blood increases the arterial pressure; it leads to stiffening of arteries like the arota and blood vessels.
But, there are some researchers around the world who have disputed this and in fact have stated that salt is good for us and helps prevent heart attack. A recent study published in the Lancet may have found the answer to this dilemma.
Research has shown that this salt comes not from our daily food made with fresh ingredients but from the processed and preserved foods that have become a large part of our meals. So make sure you consume freshly made food with adequate salt and plenty of water.
Fruits and vegetables which are particularly high in potassium include bananas, oranges, tomato and spinach, kidney beans and avocado. Almonds are also very high in potassium as well.
One word of caution is that some blood pressure drugs lead to higher potassium levels in the bloodstream and when combined with foods very high in potassium, may lead to a dangerous rise in your blood potassium levels. If you have long-standing high blood pressure and in particular are an elderly diabetic, it is important to have your potassium checked on a relatively regular basis and not to go overboard with the foods containing potassium.
As with most aspects of life, this is more evidence where moderation in all things is good for your health. Unfortunately, 80% of the salt we ingest comes from processed, packaged foods and not from the salt shaker on the table. Because of this, it is still unnecessary to add salt to anything. Also, don’t be deluded into thinking that rock salt, sea salt or Himalayan salt is any different. It’s still all salt.