Recently, my husband Dick and I went to dinner with our daughter, her family and her father-in-law who was visiting from South Africa. We had a wonderful time at a local steak house.
Dick and I are always mindful of the food we order when we’re out. We do our best to choose the healthiest items on the menu. Even so, after returning home, we both were extremely thirsty and downed a large glass of water. Seems the food was loaded with salt.
Salt is a Vital Nutrient
We need it to live; yet Americans are getting too much salt in their diets. In 1974, men daily consumed 2,780 milligrams of salt, women 1,774. By 2006 salt intake jumped to 4,300 milligrams for men and 3,003 for women.
Samuel & Matthew can’t believe there’s so much to know about salt.
The body needs sodium to function. Excessive sodium intake leads to high blood pressure, which is associated with strokes, kidney damage and congestive heart failure. The National Academy of Sciences estimated that reducing sodium intake could prevent 100,000 deaths a year!
Not Salt All Equal
The standard table salt you buy in the grocery store has been chemically-cleansed. Refined salt has been bleached to look white and treated so it will pour easily. This is also the salt that has been added to all processed foods.
On the other hand, unrefined sea salt from a whole foods store is rich in minerals. It’s naturally complex of sodium chloride, which includes minerals such as calcium and magnesium as well as trace minerals. In the natural form, the body properly utilizes the salt and the minerals help to protect the body from toxins, parasites, bacteria, viruses, and other illnesses. There are over one hundred minerals in unrefined sea salt helping to keep the body in balance.
Shaking the Processed Food Habit
Our excessive salt intake isn’t coming from our salt shakers. Most of it, 77 percent, is from processed foods or food purchased out. Some products are offering lower sodium content. Of course, this is still chemically processed salt. You can find nutritional information for many restaurants (including fast food) online. Not many will take the time to look at nutritional information online before going to a restaurant.
Sixteen food manufacturing companies have committed to join the National Salt Reduction Initiative, (NSRI) a campaign started by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to reduce salt content in restaurants and packaged foods in the United States by 20 percent over five years. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration is working on front of the package nutritional labeling. Although, front of the package labeling will only alert consumers to the salt content.
We don’t need to wait five years for food manufactures to reduce sodium. We don’t need front of the package labeling about salt either. When you use natural sea salt at home, will you reduce sodium in your diet and you’ll receive he benefits from the minerals in the salt. When we cook from scratch and eat at home we’ll be healthy.
Three Tips for Salt Usage
1. Use Sea Salt
2. Add salt at the end of the cooking process, as it’ll lose its saltiness.
3. Add less salt when cooking, as most people want to salt the food on their plates. (Some even add salt before tasting it.)