We all eat it, we all crave it.
And while there are some health conditions that warrant it’s limitation, those of us in the paleo community generally agree that it’s an important addition to a healthy diet.
Sodium is an important part of our extracellular fluid and that makes it very important for cardiovascular function. It often gets a bad rap, but it is a vitally important component to human life.
Bottom line is you don’t want too much of it (this is dependent on a lot of factors), but you also don’t want too little.
But some of us stop there.
The reality is that there is a hierarchy in salt: some of it’s better than others.
And while this article isn’t about telling you how MUCH to eat or any of that minutia (basically, salt to taste if you’re the large percentage of people without a health condition like hypertension) I am going to share a few reasons why you might want to swap the salt you currently use.
Why Table Salt is No Good
Salt has been a part of the human diet since ancient times. People have been using it to make food tasty for thousands of years and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Back then, they had some interesting and crafty ways of making salt, but today we are fortunate to have processed salt, packaged up in nice bags and boxes, and ready for our consumption.
Sadly, regular table salt is a heavily processed ingredient.
Because of that heavy processing, it loses most if not all of it’s trace minerals and it often also contains additives like anti-caking agents.
This makes it not only devoid of helpful nutrients, but also potentially not so great for your health.
Overall, it’s not an ingredient we want to be including in a whole foods diet, and there are better options out there.
Since the good stuff isn’t THAT much more expensive, and since you don’t use a ton of it anyway, there’s really no reason not to invest in some good salt.
Salts that provide health benefits are natural salts like Real salt, Sea salt, and Himalayan pink salt.
I’m torn between Himalayan salt and Real salt as to my favorite, the taste is slightly different in each. Personally, I feel like Real salt gives me a more salty flavor that is stronger with a smaller amount.
Both salts come from ancient sea deposits and contains trace minerals including iron, zinc, and the coveted potassium and magnesium.
Potassium, in particular, is a very difficult nutrient to find in large quantities it nature and is often sorely lacking in even healthy American diets, including the paleo diet. (This can be avoided with lots of attention to the potassium content of the diet, but honestly, most of us don’t put that much thought or time into the micro nutrients we consume.)
It can be hit or miss as to whether you can find these salts in grocery stores, but Amazon is always my friend and I usually buy there.
A lower cost, easier to find option would be Sea Salt. This stuff is pretty much everywhere in stores.
This type of salt comes from current ocean waters and is then dried and processed.
Some folks worry about consuming salt from increasingly polluted oceans. As of yet there’s not much data (if any) supporting this theory, but science is sometimes slow to catch up and it doesn’t hurt to be careful.
Sea Salt doesn’t have quite as much of a nutritional benefit as Himalayan or Real salt because of the heavy processing but it is still overall a less processed food. And hey, it’s better than table salt!
Here’s a great Sea Salt.
What are your thoughts on salt? What kind do you use? Do you think we should/shouldn’t include it in the diet?