Headline hype persuades us that salt is a demon. Believing this is another of the lifestyle choices that can lead to dehydration.
The Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines consider salt to be Public Enemy number one, coming before fats, sugars and alcohol. The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests reducing salt consumption to below 2,400 mg is as critical as quitting cigarettes. These two groups, plus the Institute of Medicine and the National Institute of Health, all rely on the results from a 30-day trial of salt called the 2001DASH-Sodium study. It suggested that eating significantly less salt would modestly lower blood pressure—it said nothing about whether this would reduce hypertension, prevent heart disease or lengthen life.
In 1998 Drummond Rennie, an editor for The Journal of the American Medical Association, said the authorities pushing the eat-less-salt message had “made a commitment to salt education that goes way beyond the scientific facts.”
Four studies involving Type I and II diabetics, healthy Europeans, and patients with chronic heart failure, reported that those eating salt in the lower normal range were more likely to have heart disease than those eating salt in the very middle of the normal range.
If we consume only 2,400 mg of salt as the U.S.D.A. and the C.D.C. recommend, we’ll likely harm our health rather than helping it; this will increase the likelihood of chronic dehydration. Maintaining hydration requires salt, potassium, calcium, magnesium and water.
• Salt is an integral part of our physiology and necessary for health because of hydration and the many other roles it plays in our bodies.
• Being an electrolyte, sodium/salt conducts electricity through the body’s water so the electrical nerve impulses from the brain and autonomic nervous system can travel from cell to cell.
• Salt can stabilize irregular heartbeats.
• A natural hypnotic and sleep inducer is a glass of water plus a pinch of salt on the tongue before bedtime. It is a muscle relaxer; a pinch of salt during stress can calm the body.
• Salt is a substitute for Lithium and therefore prevents depression. It also preserves serotonin, melatonin and tryptamine which are anti-depression neurotransmitters.
• Salt extracts excess acidity from cells, especially brain cells, and helps kidneys pass acid into the urine.
• A strong natural antihistamine for allergies and asthma is two glasses of water plus a pinch of salt on the tongue.
• Being anaerobic, cancer cells are killed by oxygen. Adequate salt and water increases the amount of blood that carries oxygen to the cells.
• Salt helps balance blood sugar levels and reduces the need for insulin.
• Bones are made firmer by salt.
• Varicose and spider veins are prevented and reduced by salt.
• Sea salt has 80 trace minerals necessary for optimum body function.
Things are not inherently good or bad; how we use them determines their value. Previously, we discussed that salt has been worth its weight in gold because of its ability to preserve food, make other foods more palatable, and most importantly, to keep our bodies hydrated. It’s all about balance. Too much of a good thing is not really better; too little of a good thing can be harmful. The “death to salt” campaign can be taken with a few grains of NaCl.
Next month’s article addresses more of the common lifestyle choices that lead us to dehydration.
6. Batmanghelidj, F., M.D. ABC of Asthma, Allergies and Lupus. Global Health Solutions. 2000.
JeanAnn is a free-lance writer for health and metaphysics. “Heal Yourself for Real,” plus three more e-books are available at Amazon. com and Barnes&Noble.com. She also does handwriting analysis and numerology. JeanAnn’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.