Salt is another of those basic food essentials that has had a rough time in recent years; some perspective on this and a reality check, salt is essential to support body function and to sustain and support good health.
The battle lines are drawn by special interest groups, drug companies and the multi-national marketers of processed foods; the three basic elements that make our food taste good or even palatable are sugar, salt and fats. If you note the contents on processed food labels when, salt has been reduced it is very likely that sugar or fat has been increased. The end result is marketed as healthier when it may in fact be less healthy.
The history of salt
The history of salt has been well documented throughout ancient times, it has been prized as a trade good, a currency and generally valued by many past civilisations; less available in some regions the higher the value, more available the lower its value in trade.
Salt has been valued as an addition to enhance the flavour of foods, but most of all prior to refrigeration it was widely used to preserve the bounty of summer to preserve food for the winter, especially meat, fish and vegetables which require salt for either the drying or pickling process; salt prevents bacteria spoiling food during or after either of these processes. These processes may prolong the shelf life indefinitely of some foods; it is clear we consumed a lot more salt in our diet pre refrigeration than we do now post refrigeration. It is very difficult to overdose on salt but health compromising to starve yourself of salt; it all comes back to balance.
Symptoms that may indicate you are deficient in salt include; muscle fatigue, muscle spasm, cramps, dizziness and heart palpitations, if you have any concerns about salt intake or the above symptoms a simple blood test and a consultation with your health care professional is advised.
A reference book on the subject The Salt Fix, Why the Experts Got It All Wrong by DiNicolantonio, a doctor of pharmacy.
Our body loses salt in many ways; through perspiration, urine, diarrhoea, vomiting or excessive water consumption may also flush essential salts affecting body fluid balance. Natural salt is always a good choice but bear in mind New Zealand’s thyroid epidemic was treated naturally by adding iodine to our salt; thyroid conditions like goitres were common in the 40’s and 50’s and are now a rare condition