There’s a reason we have specific taste buds in our mouths which are sensitive to the taste of salt. It’s because we really need salt! It’s vital to our health and well-being which is why it’s the most natural thing on earth to seek out the salt.
FOOD TASTES BETTER!
We’re hardwired to crave salt for one reason only – we need it to survive. It’s an essential nutrient and we need it for regulating fluids in our bodies, blood pressure and for creating nerve impulses. However, adding salt to your food does a whole lot more than just make it taste salty.
Salt makes food taste sweeter. Fascinatingly, apart from processing glucose and insulin in our blood, our intestinal glucose sensing sensors (SGLTI) also push glucose into our mouth’s sweet-taste-cells when it senses the presence of sodium in food. This triggers us to register sweetness as well as saltiness!
Salt suppresses bitterness far better than sugar does. Researchers believe that most of the bitterness-blocking happens in the taste buds and that sodium somehow interferes with the binding between bitter compounds and their taste cell receptors.
Salt makes food smell better. Ions in salt are attracted to available water in food so making it easier for volatile compounds to evaporate more quickly, in this way enhancing the aroma of food.
SALT IS ESSENTIAL TO GOOD HEALTH
Now that we understand why we naturally crave salt, Sally Fallon Morrel, in her article Salt Of The Earth, tells us why it’s so vital to our well-being. She describes the interior of our bodies as a salty interior ocean, adding that without salt, ‘the myriad chemical reactions that support enzyme function, energy production, hormone production, protein transport and many other biochemical processes simply can’t work.’ It’s worthwhile noting that ‘Western people today consume about half the amount of salt that they consumed traditionally. Before the days of refrigeration, most of our meat and fish was preserved by salting it. The Japanese, who have one of the highest salt intakes in the world, also have the highest life expectancy.’
A nordic dish preserved with salt: gravlax
SALT & BLOOD PRESSURE
One of salt’s major functions is to regulate blood volume and pressure, including the flexibility of the blood vessels. One of the most contentious health issues around salt is that it we’re told that excess salt intake can increase hypertension thereby contributing to heart disease, strokes and kidney disease. Is this true?
We asked Sue Visser – well known South African author, health researcher and co-creator of the Nature Fresh health range. Her answer is unequivocal. ‘The answer is no. What you need to understand is that salt is retained in the body as a result of a potassium and magnesium deficiency. If the levels are balanced, you simply eliminate any excess salt out via urination.’ Sue goes on to say in a recent article ‘70% of a human body depends on a saline solution for its existence. Salt imbalances can make us very ill. Throwing away the salt shaker is not the answer. A good balance of minerals and trace elements has to be maintained to carry out vital bodily functions.’
And Sally Fallon Morrel points to a study which says: ‘For certain individuals who are salt sensitive, excessive consumption of sodium can increase blood pressure, but for the majority, blood pressure is not raised by increased salt intake. In most people, even a drastic increase in salt consumption does not raise blood pressure.’2
Dr Brownstein, one of the foremost practitioners of holistic medicine and author of 11 books on health, expresses similar views. ‘there is little data to support low-salt diets being effective at treating hypertension for the vast majority of people. Also, none of the studies looked at the use of unrefined sea salt, which contains many valuable vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and potassium, which are vital to maintaining normal blood pressure.’
NATURAL, UNREFINED SALT IS BEST
Normal table salt is pure sodium chloride, highly refined, denatured and stripped of all its valuable trace minerals and nutrients through processing. However natural unprocessed salt such as unrefined sea salt and salt from the Kalahari desert has an alkalizing effect and is rich in trace elements including potassium and magnesium, helping to keep sodium chloride chemically in balance.
It’s the unrefined, nutritious quality of the salt that contributes all those trace elements and minerals. We’re fortunate to be able to make a great South African salt available to all. Choose wisely, and pass the salt!
Available in shakers and refill boxes in Pick ‘n Pay, Deli’s and Health Shops.
#naturalunrefinedsalt #freefromadditives #Saltfromthekalahari #nutritioussalt #saltwithtraceelements
- Midgley JP, Matthew AG, Greenwood CM, Logan AG. Effect of reduced dietary sodium on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. JAMA. 1996;275(20):1590-7.