Deep Dive

SALT

Salt is delicious. It makes even the blandest food perk up to become tasty and satisfying. It’s a shame salt raises your blood pressure and causes heart disease. Or so we have been taught. Conventional wisdom is ingrained especially deep here. Even most primal and paleo diets recommend you limit your salt intake. But once again, conventional wisdom is not based on any serious scientific research. Recent scientific research finds no link between salt and blood pressure. It even suggests increasing our salt intake reduces our risk of insulin resistance and diabetes.

Salt as a nutrient

Salt is not just a flavoring we add to food. Salt (or rather sodium) is an essential nutrient just like iron and calcium. Although it’s rare, sodium deficiency leads to increased heart rate, reduced kidney function, reduced thyroid function and heightened insulin levels. There’s no need to eat extra salt, but if you eat a natural diet you shouldn’t limit the salt in your diet either.

So how much salt should you eat? In this case, it is best to trust your body and listen to your taste buds. If they tell you something is too salty, assume it is. But if you crave salty snacks all the time, you need to season your meals a little more. In short, we recommend seasoning your food to your own taste and needs.

Salt trends

A lot of internet space is spent on telling you which salt you should use. Basically, there are two types, both of which come from salt mines that originate from dried out ancient sea beds. Both are chemically similar and consist mainly of sodium chloride. In modern table salt, most trace minerals are removed and anti-caking agents are added to create the familiar fine grain stuff you find in most salt shakers. In sea salt (for example Himalaya or Celtic sea salt), the trace minerals are preserved. Normally, we would advise you to use sea salt, as the trace minerals could help you achieve your daily mineral intake. However, in most countries iodine is added to table salt. This is useful, because soil depletion has made it difficult to get enough iodine from the vegetables you eat. On balance, unless you eat a lot of seafood or seaweed, we recommend using iodized table salt as the added iodine is more important for your health than the trace minerals in trendy sea salts. And it’s about 10 times cheaper too.