Quality of Life: Why Is Salt So Important?

Research by our health team has led them to discover some interesting information about salt and its role in vital health and longevity.

Salt is generally regarded as unhealthy, causing hypertension and circulatory diseases. In truth this has to do with the kind of salt we are eating. Just like white processed flour that has all the nutrients processed out of it, the white refined table salt, pure sodium chloride, also has little value and can be even dangerous for the body. In this issue Inger Marie and Pernille Knudtzon examine another viewpoint on salt.Harvested from the sea or extracted from the earth, salt would appear to be one of the humblest commodities. Yet the sodium it contains is a life-sustaining element. Sodium chloride is essential in the nutrition and physiological processes of all animals including man.

From long before the first written word, there are repeated references in records and stories to the importance of salt as an essential element in daily diet. Ancient manuscripts tell us that more than 5000 years ago the Chinese obtained salt by boiling and evaporating the ash from seaweed. Later, people along the Mediterranean and Red Seas discovered that when the sun evaporated seawater, salt was left behind. This was the start of salt manufacturing and the same method of solar evaporation is still used today. 

Roman legionnaires who guarded the Via Solaria, one of the most famous military roads in history, received part of their pay in salt, their "salarium." From this came the modern word "salary." To this day a good man is "worth his salt" and we take the’ dramatic pronouncements of others "with a pinch of salt." Many of salt’s applications, including salting of fish and meat to preserve it, have remained almost unchanged down through the millennia. Enshrined in the World’s many cultures and a vital part of global economies, salt is as essential to life as the air we breathe and the water we drink.

To keep our bodies running we need energy – not just any energy but "sustainable energy" and this requires salt. Salt is the body’s matrix system for transporting energy throughout the entire human organism. A deficiency of salt equals a deficiency of energy. It is no coincidence that our body’s fluids are salted with sodium or that the ocean is salted with sodium rather than some other element.

Sodium (salt), therefore, is at the foundation of life and without it we would die. Our bodies contain almost 450gms of salt and each day we need to replenish the salt used by our bodies to maintain our normal health and vigour. Salt plays a big part in helping the body to digest foods and turn them into living tissues, as well as helping to transmit nerve impulses that contract the muscles. In order for the cells of the body to function normally, a salt/water balance must be maintained.

This is why we recommend eating more salt in the diet. A 70 kg man or woman should be eating at least 5 – 10 grams of salt a day. Sugar cravings are often actually the need for salt. Eat some salt and often sugar cravings will go away with renewed energy and sustainable energy.

IMPORTANT: The salt you ingest has to be whole and unprocessed, free from added iodine or caking agents. Also be aware that processed foods contain a lot if refined salts and should be avoided or at least included in your salt intake calculations.

Some of the best salt sources in the world include France, Utah, USA and the Himalayas. All of these are extracted naturally and contain other trace elements such as magnesium, potassium and calcium helping to create a balance of salts I our body.
Armed with our new knowledge about hydration, ionised water and salt we feel we have added another piece to our jigsaw of understanding how to restore and maintain the body’s natural balance for optimal health.

This article is part of a series and you can read more

Pernille Knudtzon, MD
Tel: 678 253 510

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This post is also available in: Spanish

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