Salt of the Earth — or Sea
“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”
That’s the Bible talking, and it sort of turned out to be prophetic. Salt hasn’t lost its taste (savour), but it certainly has lost its healthiness. Sort of.
In June, the Food and Drug Administration announced it was preparing guidelines for asking the food industry to lower sodium levels. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the agency regarded sodium with “huge interest and concern.”
The Associated Press reported that the 1 ½ teaspoons a day Americans consume on average was a third more than the government recommended, and was enough to increase the risk of high blood pressure and strokes.
But is it? The Cochrane Collaboration published a review of 11 salt-reduction trials in 2004. Cochrane is an international, independent, not-for-profit health-care research organization supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The results: Over the long term, low-salt diets decreased blood pressure by about 120/80 to 119/79, hardly significant. The website Scientific American, which reported on the research, said that a 2003 Cochrane review of 57 shorter-term studies similarly found that “there is little evidence for long-term benefit from reducing salt intake.”
The New York Times said in June 2012 that studies from the previous two years showed reducing salt intake could actually increase the likelihood of premature death. “Put simply,” the Times said, “the possibility has been raised that if we were to eat as little salt as (government agencies) recommend, we’d be harming rather than helping ourselves.”
Dr. Al Sears, a leading alternative physician in Royal Palm Beach, Florida, has said that “low-salt diets can create or worsen nutritional deficiencies. And you know you need vitamins and minerals for good heart health.”
Salt of the sea
Healthy sea salt
Yet the salt commonly consumed, table salt and that found in processed foods, “is a highly processed product that’s devoid of nutrients and minerals,” Sears said. On the other hand, unrefined salts such as sea salt have lots of nutrients.
In fact, Dr. David Brownstein reported unrefined salt contained more than 80 minerals, compared to zero minerals but lots of toxic additives in refined table salt. Brownstein is director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, Mich., and author of a number of books, including Salt Your Way to Health. He has claimed that leg cramps in at least 95 percent of the cases are caused by a deficiency of healthy salt, and it was “rare that unrefined-salt therapy doesn’t cure the cramps.”
It isn’t that we don’t get enough salt, Brownstein said. The problem is that “we are not getting enough good salt in our diets.”
You know — the pure kind from the Bible days, before “progress” led to processing.