Salt and Sodium, The Elephant In The Room. (Infographic)

Salt, also referred to as sodium chloride, contains approximately 40 per cent sodium and 60% chloride. It is a flavouring agent for food and is employed as a binder as well as a stabilizer. It’s also an ingredient used to preserve food since bacteria cannot thrive when there is an excessive amount of salt. The human body requires a tiny amount of sodium in order to transmit nerve impulses, relax and contract muscles, and maintain the balance of minerals and water. According to estimates, we need around 500 mg of sodium per day to perform these essential functions. However, too excessive sodium intake in our diet could lead to hypertension, coronary disease and stroke. It may also trigger calcium loss, some of which could be absorbed by bones. The majority of Americans consume at minimum 1.5 teaspoons (or more) of salt a day, or around 3400 mg sodium, which is more than what our bodies require.

Recommended Quantities

It is stated that the U.S. Dietary Reference Intakes declare that there isn’t enough evidence to determine an RDA or an unsafe level of sodium (aside from the risk of chronic diseases). Due to this, the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) has not yet been set, and The UL is the maximum daily intake that is not likely to cause adverse consequences for overall health.

Guidelines for Adequate intakes (AI) in sodium were formulated by analyzing the lowest sodium intake in controlled, randomized studies, which did not reveal any deficiencies, but also ensure adequate consumption of nutritious food items naturally containing sodium. For both women and men who are 14 years old and over and pregnant women, the AI amounts to 1,500 mg per day.

The Chronic Disease Risk Reduction (CDRR) intake has also been determined on the basis of evidence of the positive effects of a decreased sodium intake in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases as well as the risk of high blood pressure. Lowering sodium intakes to levels below CDRR is believed to reduce the risk of chronic illness in the general population of healthy. The CDRR recommends 2,300 milligrams per day as the recommended amount of sodium to consume to reduce the risk of chronic illness for women and men who are 14 years old as well as pregnant women. The majority of Americans in the U.S. consume more sodium than the AI or CDR guidelines. [1]

Sodium and Health

The majority of people’s kidneys have difficulty keeping up with the excess sodium levels in their blood. When sodium levels rise in the body, it holds onto the water in order to reduce the sodium. This can increase the volume of cell fluid that surrounds them as well as the amount of blood that circulates through the bloodstream. The increased blood volume is an increased workload for your heart and increased stress on the blood vessels. As time passes, the added work and pressure could cause stiffening of blood vessels, which can lead to increased blood pressure and heart attacks, stroke, and heart attack. It could also cause heart failure. There is evidence to suggest that salt consumption could cause damage to the heart, aorta and kidneys without increasing blood pressure. In addition, it can be detrimental to bones too. Find out more about the dangers to health and the diseases that are linked to sodium and salt:

Food Sources

It’s not a nutrient that you have to search for. It’s there. Nearly all unprocessed foods like vegetables, fruits as well as whole grains and nuts, as well as dairy, and meats are high in sodium. Most of the sodium that we consume comes from processed foods that are prepared by commercial companies and not from salt added to cooking at home or from the salt we add to our meals prior to eating. [1,18]

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The most salubrious foods that we consume include pizza, bread/rolls, bread/rolls; sandwiches, cold cuts/cured meats and soups, burritos, tacos and snack foods that are savoury (chips popcorn, pretzels crackers) chicken cheese; eggs; Omelets.

Do “natural” salts better than table salt?

Salt is mined from salt mines or the process of vaporizing ocean water. All kinds of salt consist of sodium chloride. The nutritional content is not different. Even though less processed salts contain tiny amounts of minerals, this amount isn’t enough to provide significant nutritional benefits. Salts are selected to add flavour.

The most popular salt is table salt. It is mined from underground salt deposits. It is extensively processed to eliminate impurities. It could also eliminate trace minerals. Then it is crushed very fine. Iodine is an elemental trace mineral introduced into salt around 1924 to help prevent hypothyroidism and goitre, health conditions that are due to iodine deficiencies. Table salt is also often enriched with an anticaking agent like calcium silicate to stop the formation of clumps.

Kosher salt is an extremely coarse-grained salt that is named for its usage as a traditional Kosher food preparation. Kosher salt does not usually contain iodine, but it could have an anticaking ingredient.

Sea salt is created by the process of evaporating ocean water or seawater. It’s also made up largely of sodium chloride. However, it often contains small amounts of minerals such as zinc, potassium and iron, depending on the location it was taken. Since it isn’t as refined and ground as regular table salt, the product could appear rougher and darker, with a smoky colour showing the remaining impurities as well as nutrients. However, certain impurities could contain metals in the oceans, such as lead. The coarseness and size of the granule can differ by brand.

Himalayan pink salt is sourced from mines located in Pakistan. The pink hue is caused by tiny quantities of iron oxide. Like sea salt, it is not as processed or refined, which is why the crystals appear bigger and have tiny amounts of minerals, including calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium.