5 Reasons to Eat MORE Salt

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Five Reasons to Eat MORE Salt
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Salt has gotten a really bad reputation in the past, and now there seems to be a lot of confusion about if salt is healthy or not.

It is important to note that the type of salt makes a big difference in whether it is healthy or not. Many of the studies about sodium intake were done with incomplete salts.

Just as…

  • Feed lot grain-fed beef is not the same as completely grass fed beef, and
  • Conventional produce is not the same as organic produce, and
  • Farm raised fish is not the same as wild caught fish, and
  • Hydrogenated trans fat is not the same as medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil

Man-made table salt is not the same as mineral-rich natural salt. Real salt has many important roles in the body and avoiding it can be problematic. As I said before:

Table Salt = BAD!

Table salt, which is 97% Sodium Chloride (NaCl) is chemically produced, bleached and devoid of most other nutrients. It also contains Aluminum in many cases, which has been linked to Alzheimers disease and other problems in the body. Plus, it’s devoid of many trace minerals that the body needs.

This type of salt is not naturally occurring and in fact, when salt-water fish are placed in salt water made with table salt… they die.

However, table salt is often iodized. Before you toss your table salt, be sure to start eating more foods with naturally occurring iodine, like seaweed.

If you have any of this type of table salt around your house, I’d recommend that you stop using it immediately. Don’t throw it out though… you can use it in natural cleaning and stain treatment. (Just don’t eat it!)

Real Salt = Good!

The cure for anything is salt water- tears sweat or the seaTo the degree that table salt is bad, real salt is healthy, necessary and good.

While the research linking regular table salt to disease and health disorders is correct, we’ve thrown out the baby with the (salt) water.

Consider this: the body contains high concentrations of many minerals and nutrients, and while it needs water, it also must have the proper concentration of these nutrients in bones, blood and organs to function properly.

A person can’t be given an IV of plain water- it must contain a careful balance of minerals, including salt!”

Why Should You Eat More Salt?

Here are five reasons I personally make sure I consume enough healthy salt each day:

  1. For Insulin Sensitivity: The “link” between salt intake and cardiovascular problems is getting a lot of scrutiny lately. At the same time, research is showing a link between low salt consumption and insulin resistance (and moderate/high salt intake and insulin sensitivity). With the rising rates of blood sugar related problems, this is an important factor to consider. (source, source)
  2. Hydration: I drink Sole (a specially hydrated salt water) every morning for the energy boost, reduction in allergy symptoms and the hydration. Salt (and the other trace minerals present in natural salts) are essential for proper hydration.
  3. For Longevity: Low salt intake is actually linked to shorter life expectancy. Chris Kresser explains: “The average American consumes about 3700 milligrams of sodium a day. This value has remained constant for the last fifty years, despite the rise in rates of high blood pressure and heart disease. (2) As a comparison, the Japanese, with one of the highest life expectancies in the world, consume an average of 4650 milligrams of sodium per day, and have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than most other developed countries. (3, 4)”
  4. For Hormones:  From Mark’s Daily Apple: “First, salt has been shown to speed up cortisol clearance from the blood. The faster you clear cortisol, the quicker you recover from a stressor. If cortisol lingers, you “stay stressed.”Second, there’s evidence that stress increases salt appetite. In lab mice, activation of the sympathetic nervous system by a stressor causes them to prefer salt water to plain water. Similar findings have been observed in rats subjected to stress. In humans, acute bouts of stress don’t seem to increase salt appetite, but chronic stress does increase intake of salty, processed junk food.” (source)
  5. Digestion: On a personal note, I’ve noticed a big improvement in my own digestion since adding Sole (hydrated salt water) each morning, and recent news is supporting this idea. From this article: “Salt plays a primary role in the processes of digestion and absorption. Salt activates an enzyme in the mouth called salivary amylase. At this point, the salt allows your taste buds to taste the food. Salt also plays a role in digestion by helping to break down food. Salt also creates hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid is a very important digestive secretion, which lines the stomach walls.”

Keep in mind that not everyone should increase their salt intake. Those with Menier’s disease, congestive heart disease, hypertension and kidney disease especially should check with their doctor before changing their salt intake, as increased salt can really make them ill.

What Type of Salt?

The type of salt consumed is really important when talking about the health benefits. There is a tremendous difference between Himalayan salt which contains 93 additional trace minerals and regular table salt which is created in a lab and contains two.

I have a variety of healthy salts at our house and I use them in cooking, skin care and to make Sole. We use:

  • Himalayan Pink Salt– I use this to make Sole (here’s how to make it) and in cooking. It has a much milder flavor than conventional salt and after using this for a few months, conventional table salt has a bitter taste to me. It comes from ancient salt stores in the Himalayan mountains and we even have lamps made out of this type of salt in our house.
  • Redmond Real Salt– Also from ancient salt beds. Redmond salt has the mildest flavor of all the salt’s I’ve tried and I often use it in cooking dishes where I only want to lightly enhance the flavor but don’t really want the salt taste to come through.

More Reading

New Study Finds No Connection Between Salt and Heart Disease

CNN- Low Salt Diet Ups the Risk of Heart Attack?

Scientific American – It’s Time To End the War on Salt

Shaking Up the Salt Myths – Chris Kresser

Salt: What Is It Good For? – Mark Sisson

Salt, We Misjudged You – NY Times

How to Make Sole

Is Salt Healthy?

Sea Spray for Skin

Healthy Benefits of Salt Baths

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Ann Shippy, who is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and a certified Functional Medicine physician with a thriving practice in Austin, Texas. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

Are you a salt eater? What kind of salt do you use? Share below!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


64 responses to “5 Reasons to Eat MORE Salt”

  1. Vicky Avatar

    If I go to Real Salt exclusively, how do my kids get iodine in their diet? I’m new to all of this and would really like to find out an answer.
    Thank you!

    1. Chris Avatar

      that is mentioned in the comments above. if you don’t want to search through them by reading just hit control + F to find the word iodine mentioned a few times 😉

  2. Bee Avatar

    Ok, trying again:
    I totally agree with you that we should eat very wholesome salt. To the best of my knowledge, Sel de Gerande or French grey salt or Celtic salt fulfill these requirements (the wikipedia article for Fleur de Sel says they contain magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron and iodine). Also, they are produced in a sustainable way (hand harvested by the sea-side, outdoors, traditional craft).
    However Himalayan Pink Salt is MINED in Pakistan, so my concern (besides the extra airplane miles) would be: is pink salt a renewable ressource? are the miners’s life conditions ok? Despite its wonderful qualities, doesn’t our consumption of it have a negative environmental impact? I tried to look for more info on the web, but if anyone has more please share.
    Ideally, I would like to find salt that is sustainably harvested not too far from home.

    1. Chris Avatar

      Just like fancy coffee, many of these products will mention their labor practices on the sides of the product. If you don’t see it there, message them and ask why not. Your concern is already a big part of the labeling of these types of products. ie think of coffee, cacoa, sugar, etc, the organic ones in your local coop or whole foods stores. the word ethical and sustainable are all over them. i suggest just picking them up to find out, maybe easier then searching online.

  3. Erin Corrette Avatar
    Erin Corrette

    Most of my recipes call for kosher salt. Is there a better, more natural salt I could use in its place?

  4. Sean Green Avatar
    Sean Green

    Sorry, but this has more holes and flaws in it than I would even begin to iterate. Americans have a tendency to eat an overwhelming amount of sodium in their diet. There IS a cutoff point, and there IS risk for those who consume in excess. This is not new. Whether you use designer salt, or table salt, the risk is the same. Less processing may have ‘some’ benefits, but salt is salt. The fact that we utilize sodium chloride only in its molecular form, should not be confused with “natural” versus “processed” salts. The body doesn’t really care. I use Himalayan salt in my cooking. Not because it’s “better” for me, but because it looks pretty. I can assure you that I would NOT suddenly recommend giving a “no limit” pass on salt to my patients; now, or in the future. That is just a disaster waiting to happen. The American Heart Associate still refutes this nonsense, and the “meta-analysis” that was proposed is genuinely flawed beyond compare. This is the problem with people taking only small snippets of a bigger picture, and trying to suggest that current guidelines are to be scrutinized.

    1. jay Avatar

      I’m sorry, but you appear to be using your brain for something other than cooling your blood. Your kind isn’t wanted ’round these parts.

      1. Fiona Avatar

        That’s incredibly rude. I for one am happy to have Dr Sean comment. I don’t have to agree with him on everything but he is certainly “welcome around these parts”.

        Wellnessmama herself regularly says that you should check with your doctor on certain life affecting things

    2. Lalita Avatar

      The US also has some of the highest mortality rates in the world for many diseases that are simply not a problem in other countries. Our “research” is funded by corporations, often the tests are not completed properly (look at Gardasil) by looking at how the change impacts a full life-cycle. I have found that by reading the studies that are 10-30 year studies they back up a lot of the “hokey” remedy ideas. If you need proof that the American heart Association, National Institute of Health or other government funded grant mill isn’t doing what it should. Look at c-sections and mortality rates, look at where the money goes and where it comes from, look at the actual tests and how they were performed. Also, this article was well written, she did her homework, she is correct even by your standards about the mineral differences in salts, you should commend her for doing research. Not condemn for holding a different and widely scientifically supported view.

    3. Chris Avatar

      Sean you seem like a nice person and i appreciate the advice you’ve written here, but i wanted to add something to consider. I think your exactly right we get so much salt already from the foods we eat, such as cheese, pasta, etc, everything just about has it added, and often the crappy kind mentioned in the article that is not in its natural mineral balance and may be a bit harsh on the body. But if someone were to cut out all of those sources and say make all of their own veggie/grain/ and meat dishes at home, or at least the bulk of them, they would have control over the amount going in the their body. I know people that have had serious problems adding ‘good salts’ to their diets, immediately feeling the effects on their high blood pressure issue, but when they cut out all of the processed foods and only had the so called good salts their blood pressure wasn’t high anymore and salt had no effect on it. Same goes with eating a bunch of oils or high fat seeds. Even if they were great types, shown to lower blood pressure, their couldn’t handle them, until they got rid of processed foods and well basically, just ate food they made. So in short, i agree, salt is very dangerous, unless, your eating a veggie/fruit and or veggie/fruit/meat diet that is all processed and cooked at home.

  5. kris Avatar

    Do you recommend feeding salt to infants/babies/children? If so, what is the starting age?

  6. Denise Cordero Avatar
    Denise Cordero

    I use Celtic Sea Salt. Does anyone use this salt? I’ve heard many great benefits as well.

  7. Erin Avatar

    First, Thanks For All Your Posts! Ok, And This One Especially… We’ve Been Using Sea Salt For Awhile, ThougH I’ve Been Doing My Best To Avoid The Pink Stuff…. No Real Reason, Other Than Cost, And Shouldn’t Most Sea Salt Be The Same?!? So While At The Store Yesterday, I Finally Broke Down And Picked Some Up. I Used It This Morning On My Croque Madame. Am I Totally Craz, Or Did I Taste It On A COMPLETELY Different Spot On My Tongue?!? I Can’t Find Anything Online About That, But It Was The Oddest Sensation!

  8. JoAnn Johnson Avatar
    JoAnn Johnson

    What about iodized sea salt?

    And is iodide supplementation needed if using only Himalayan salt?

  9. vsmom Avatar

    I use the redmond and the Himalayan only and have very high blood pressure still, and I don’t use much even. Its frustrating. I am supposed to cut it all out.

    1. Sean Green Avatar
      Sean Green

      Salt is not the ONLY thing that regulates blood pressure. If you’re in need of medication (or adjustment), please don’t rely on just a reduction or elimination of salt to do that for you. See your provider. Best of luck! 🙂

      1. Drana Avatar

        I dont do medication anymore. The doctor i was seeing didnt think it was that important so neither do I. She got mad because I refused to go in just to talk when it wasnt necessary and would proscribe the hydrochloro something zide water pill thing anymore. Not even for a blood test but pay 35 to talk? No i dont think so.

        180 over 110 on a regular basis was making me feel not well. I am staring raw apple cider vinegar. It is helping.

        taking 2 tbsp of raw apple cider vinegar in water with stevia to make it palatable seems to be doing a good job. i will check out my readings in a few weeks and see what they say.

        1. Sean Green Avatar
          Sean Green

          Believe me, I understand your situation all too well. Like so many others (even me), nobody “wants” to take medication for the hypertension. At 180/110, you’re at a VERY critical level. The risks are there, and should not be ignored. HCTZ will NEVER get that kind of level down to a goal range, and would be a complete waste of time. Yeah, there are “natural methods” that may help a little, but not very much (sorry to say). Kind of like asking for an “all-natural” stroke or heart attack. The whole apple cider vinegar thing is just not going to get you to goal, if anything at all. I’ve had countless discussions with my patients about the hypertension, and yes…it takes time to educate the patient. Leaving it up to the internet is a terrible way to go — too much junk, lies, conspiracy theories, and the like. Taking that, with someone who doesn’t want medication, and you’ve certainly got a liability on your hands. Yet…it’s their choice.
          I sincerely wish you the best. I understand your dilemma, but must suggest (for your sake) that you reconsider your thoughts on meds. Most are inexpensive, low-risk, easy to take, and minimal side effects. I think you’ll be surprised if you get on the right type. I’d rather see that, than to have something bad happen to you. I’ve seen the results of such decisions over 20+ years in the field. The outcome is NEVER good.

          Best of luck! 🙂

          1. Drana Avatar

            See, I know you are incorrect because I know people who have done it. They have reduced their Bp and done so without Big Pharma intervention.. In fact they are the ones who introduced me to the RACV.

            And unless I cant get it down to something reasonable like 140 over something, then I refuse to take Big pharma medication. I dont trust it at all, and this is from personal experience, and I have to say, I dont trust most doctors, from personal experience and many misdiagnosis.

            And you cant tell me they are low risk. There is no big pharma medicine that is low risk. I watched my mother and grandmother get this that and the other, and waste away and suffer with all sorts of maladies all because of the meds her doctors told her to take. Each one gave side effects that they then had to give more (ca ching) meds for. And then got MORE side effects so more meds and so on (CA CA CA CHING)

            So sorry if I dont believe you, but I simply don believe you. I have seen what “well informed” doctors do. I have had MUCH better luck with the internet and those “ill formed” country hillbillies and crunchy hippys. Experince shows they are right more often then the doctors, in my experience..

          2. Aaron Avatar

            I know im really late to this post, but dont worry Drana, I dont believe Sean either. He clearly is either a medical doctor that has heen brainwashed by Big Pharma or has never suffered through a pharmaceutical gauntlet of pills that has robbed him of years of his life. And he is wrong about natural remedies not working. They DO work. Ive never needed to adjust my blood pressure but I guarantee with a quick web search I can find stories of people who have with natural remedies. Those drugs are all about the money. I went through years of pharmaceutical nonsense. Never again. If you want a good way to adjust your blood pressure, just make a fruit and veggie smoothie every day, and make sure to include berries. And keep in mind that maybe your blood pressure is just going to be naturally higher than others. If thats true and by how much, i dont know. But just keep that in mind. If youre living a healthy lifestyle and it just wont seem to come down low enough, it might be right where it needs to be.

  10. Malori Fuchs Avatar
    Malori Fuchs

    I have chronic stomach issues that have not been resolved by being dairy-free, gluten-free, or even Paleo. I definitely feel better when I’m Paleo especially, but I still don’t feel healed. I’m trying to figure it out and it’s getting pretty disheartening and frustrating. The latest is bouts of unexplained diarrhea (whereas my problem before was constipation). Maybe I should try Sole. I oftentimes crave salt.

    1. Amber Avatar

      You’re issue sounds just like what I have gone through. I found a great Naturopath who has helped me so much! You are right on that even though you switch your diet you still have digestions issues because your gut has not been properly healed. There is a great diet out there which is a little intense, but so nourishing and healing. It was wonderful for my gut! Hope it helps. http://www.gapsdiet.com/ Here’s a great blog with recipes. http://healingthroughgaps.blogspot.com/ Also, my Naturopath told me to always follow a salt craving (with natural salts), but never a sugar craving. It has really helped me!

    2. Patti Avatar

      I have IBS and diverticulitis, which both cause me a large amount of stomach discomfort. I have found that when I am having issues I have to go on the BRATT diet for 24 to 48 hours. Once I have completed this then I have to add certain foods slowly. Diary has to be the very last thing to add and usually takes me a couple of weeks after. I have also found that adding the probiactics in the morning help greatly. You might also limit your red meat or any meat to once or twice a week. I try not to consume diary if at all possible. Soy and almond milk works better for me. I also in the afternoon when I remember (lol) to do three teaspoons of apple cider vinager and one teaspoon of clear fiber in a glass of water. The fiber helps to bulk me up but also helps with the IBS and the diverticulitis issues. And vinager is good for your liver. Hope this helps and gives you more of an idea what other choices you can try. Good luck!! P.s. I forgot I also have to drink tea, not coffee. Coffee upsets my stomach and I have to stay away from soda.

  11. Shanthi Avatar

    I understand that table salt is not good and real salt is the ‘real’ salt. But does Himalayan salt provide the required iodione? I am concerned about iodine if I replace the table salt, especially for kids.

  12. cecilia Avatar

    I have been using your recipe for Sole for a few months. I love it. I love the flavor of the water in the morning. I really feel the difference when I drink it. When I was younger, I never liked salt (table salt). Now, I use pink or gray salt in whatever I’m cooking. I’ve been craving grapefruit sprinkled with pink salt as well. It has helped with my stress levels as well. Thank you for this post!!!!

    1. Silvia Avatar

      How and how much of the sole do you take? How early in the morning? Upon waking? Before or after breakfast?

      1. cecilia Avatar

        I put about a teaspoon in a glass of filtered water and drink it upon waking

  13. Tempie Avatar

    I use the Redmond Real Salt and love it. I also like their seasoned salts as well.

  14. Allyson Meyler Avatar
    Allyson Meyler

    I usually take my probiotic first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Should I wait and take it after the sole?

  15. Ashlee Avatar

    We use Himalayan salt at our house! I actually just recently learned that salt is in fact not naturally white, and that bleach turns it white because it’s “more appealing to the eye.” This may just be me, but I would totally prefer pink salt over white.

    1. Pierce Watkins Avatar
      Pierce Watkins

      Wellness mama, i do the apple cider vinager tec. first then in the morning. Then eat, then coffee. How can i incorporate this solo drink, well it be ok to do med morning 2hrs after breakfast. You should blog about how you incorporate everything you take daily what you write about, or just try out for a reality show, i would watch that. I don’t understand how you can do all this in a day.

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