Salt linked to higher death rate… but not for the reason you’d think

Salt linked to higher death rate... but not for the reason you’d think

The latest in a long line of studies proves—yet again—that limiting your salt intake can be devastating to your health. European researchers found that consuming low levels of salt was tied to a higher rate of cardiovascular disease and death.

Of course, U.S. “experts” have been quick to blow off the study, saying snarkily that it needed to be taken “with a grain of salt.” You know, that’s not a half bad idea... Maybe the study should be taken with a grain of salt—because that salt just might save your life.

A team of European researchers, headed by Dr. Jan Staessen of the University of Leuven in Belgium, studied 2,856 people who did not have hypertension or cardiovascular disease. At the beginning of the study, the subjects collected their urine for 24 hours so that the researchers could determine the amount of salt each subject consumed. The researchers then divided the people into three groups based on the salt excretion.

Over the next eight years, there were five times more deaths among with people who consumed the LEAST amount of salt:

  • 50 deaths in the group with the lowest salt consumption
  • 24 deaths in the middle-intake group
  • 10 deaths in the group with the highest salt consumption

The risk of cardiovascular disease was also 56 percent higher in the group with the lowest salt intake.

But like I said, this is just the most recent study to prove the dangers of not getting enough salt. Studies have shown that salt restriction may also be linked to organ damage. If the heart and kidneys are damaged by hyponatremia (low blood sodium), you may make the hypertension worse. Salt restriction in the summer months could lead to heat exhaustion, a severe mineral disturbance that causes fainting and sometimes a stroke or heart attack.

Salt is an essential nutrient, just like vitamin A, the fatty acids, and cholesterol. Your body needs adequate amounts of it to survive. Sodium works closely with other important nutrients like calcium and potassium to keep the body functioning at optimal levels.

Looking past the salt—
and getting to the root of the problem

It’s true that most Americans do consume far too much sodium——some even estimate that people funnel in about 3,400 milligrams per day. Even the best foods and nutrients can be toxic if you overdose on them. The same is true for salt.

But the problem isn’t how you cook your food, or how much salt you sprinkle on——because the problem isn’t the salt. The problem is that too many people are stuffing their faces with processed foods. Sure, they’re convenient——they’re cheap, too. But make no mistake... they come with a hefty price tag.

Bottom line: Salt is absolutely essential to life——and a healthy life, at that. Sodium helps keep your blood pressure and body fluids at the proper levels. If you’re interested in keeping your heart beating and your muscles contracting, you should be interested in getting your fair share of sodium.

If you don’t have enough of this mineral, you could begin to suffer from fatigue, weakness, and nausea. Severely low sodium can even lead to confusion, aggression, dizziness——and ultimately to seizures, coma, or death.

Here’s what to do:

You need at least one teaspoon of salt per day in order to survive. But forget about the industrial product that passes as salt that’s likely sitting on your kitchen table.

That salt is not a salt that’s made for human consumption. It’s an industrial product made for the chemical industry, not your table. The only salt you should be using is salt that comes from a clean seabed. It might not look appetizing at first. Pure sea salt should be grey and a bit soggy.

The best source of pure sea salt is The Grain and Salt Society. For more information on their products, call them at (800)867-7258, or visit them on-line at www.celtic-seasalt.com.

Be sure to store the salt in a cool, dry place in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out. You should also mix the salt every few days. When natural sea salt sits, the moisture settles to the bottom of the container and the salt will clump.