Today, I am thinking about salt. I have tried to reduce the amount of salt in my diet. Eliminating salt is difficult to do when I am tasting my homemade soup and the addition of salt makes the soup taste SO much better. Months ago, when checking resources of information about salt, I discovered that unrefined salt is better because it has naturally occurring trace minerals which are good for the body. With the discovery of unrefined salt, I changed over to a brand that was affordable and natural. However, I still feel convicted about the consumption of salt in my diet. I think that salt is contributing to inflammation in some of my joints that were affected by a serious motor vehicle accident a few years ago. (The other conviction is caffeine - but I can only stand to face one sacrifice at a time.)
Salt content is out-of-control in processed foods, restaurant foods and kid-targeted foods. The Center for Science in the Public Interest works to improve labeling, among other things, in the effort to provide better information for the unaware consumer. Here is a link to their website and to an article on salt.
There are several reasons to eliminate added salt from the diet. The transition away from salt intake - if it is very high - can be unpleasant at first. Salt deadens the taste buds, so eliminating salt will make the food taste bland at first. There is encouragement here, however; the taste buds will regain sensitivity after several days of not adding salt. The natural salt in foods will be enough to enhance the flavor of meals. There is also an adjustment period for the kidneys when transitioning away from added salt. Dr. Fuhrman does a great job explaining this in the following video. Below the video/audio interview, I will highlight some of the damaging effects from adding salt in the diet given by Dr. Fuhrman.
Why it is important to watch salt intake
- Elevates blood pressure
- Increases risk of stomach cancer
- Increases risk of heart attack independent of blood pressure
- Increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke
- Deadens the taste buds
I would like to note that Dr. Fuhrman referenced the hemorrhagic stroke "protective" effect of an atherosclerotic brain condition. I don't believe that he is encouraging atherosclerosis, here. He is encouraging salt reduction to reduce risk of stoke, especially for folks who are eating a plant based, vascular health-promoting diet.