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Salt: A Sprinkling of Misinformation

Salt: A Sprinkling of Misinformation

In Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere (old spelling) the Old Salt recounts his harrowing tale of troubles on the high sea. And although he finally lands on solid ground, he can’t shake the curse of the salty ocean or that albatross that was hung around his neck.

And we know it’s not that easy for you to shake off the curse of a salty diet either. When headlines declared that eating too much, just enough, or too little salt didn’t make much difference in longevity, we thought. “Wait a minute!”

Many studies show too little salt (less than 1.2g/day) and too much (more than 2.3g/day for healthy people, 1.5g for those 50+) can have adverse health effects. And while moderate amounts of salt may not cause high blood pressure in folks who aren’t “salt sensitive,” a study shows that for everyone (even with normal blood pressure) excess salt in the diet may damage the lining of your blood vessels. That can negatively affect blood coagulation, platelet adhesion, blood vessel flexibility, stroke and heart attack risk, and immune function.

Fortunately, since 70% of the salt in the North American diet comes from packaged, processed and fast foods it’s easy to reduce your intake: Don’t eat foods made in processing plants. Instead, eat foods from plants grown in nature! Go for fresh foods prepared at home and rely on spices and herbs for flavor boosts. Shake off the curse of the old salt by avoiding those processed albatrosses!

Medically reviewed in November 2018.

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