SALT: SHAKING OUT THE TRUTH

Sodium Chloride is an electrolyte essential for carrying signals between the brain and nervous system. The other essential electrolyte is potassium. Together, they regulate cell membrane activity, nerve transmission, and fluid retention. The problem is not simply an over-abundance of sodium, but a lack of potassium. When you get too much sodium and not enough potassium, you get high blood pressure, muscle cramps, fatigue, irritability, confusion, muscle weakness, abdominal bloating, and even heart disease. The correct ratio for these essential electrolytes is 5:1 potassium to sodium. The average American diet has a ratio of 2:1 sodium to potassium. This is very dangerous in that sodium chloride causes high blood pressure, and with a lack of potassium the body losses one of its essential electrolytes.

The national academy of Science states that we need 500 mg. of salt per day. The average American consumes 4,000 mg. of sodium per day and 20 grams of potassium.

Sodium is an element found naturally in various foods. It is essential that we get some in our diets because it regulates the body’s fluid balance and blood pressure, helps the muscles relax and carries nutrients to the cells. Table salt (sodium chloride) consists of 40% sodium and 60% chloride. One teaspoon contains 2,300 mg. of sodium.

 

Why Salt Is So Abundant In Foods Today

During the canning process, processed foods, such as soups, undergo high temperatures. These high temperatures cause sugar and amino acids to react, creating a bitter taste. The salt masks the bitterness. A single cup of chicken noodle soup contains 900 milligrams of sodium chloride – more than twice the recommended daily allowance. The label on a can of soup suggests that there are two servings. No one except a child has a half can of soup. A full can double the amount of salt to 1800 mg. A diet high in sodium chloride is a risk factor for high blood pressure.

Here’s how it works. Salt causes the body to retain water. The water increases blood volume, therefore blood pressure. Sodium also causes smooth muscle contraction and constriction of small blood vessels, which is associated with a greater resistance to blood flow.

You may need to take potassium supplements if you cannot eat three servings a day of high-potassium foods: bananas, apricots, avocados, cantaloupe, figs, seedless raisins, beans, potatoes, winter squash, unsalted tomato sauce. If we consume an average amount of sodium, our diet would need to provide us with 12,000 mg. of potassium.

Sources of sodium:

Food                                                                           Sodium (milligrams)

Tomato sauce, canned (I cup)                                               2237

Barbeque sauce (1 cup)                                                         2038

6 oz. bag of potato chips                                                         1600

Seedless raisins (1 cup)                                                          1362

Ham and cheese sandwich (5 ounces)                                 1350

Canned soups (1 cup)                                                              1250

Avocado (one)                                                                           1204

Potatoes au gratin (I cup)                                                       1065

Soy sauce (I tablespoon)                                                        1030

Pinto beans (I cup)                                                                  1000

Turkey pot pie (8 ounces)                                                       1000

Macaroni and cheese, frozen (eight oz.)                                970

Cottage cheese, low fat (11 cup)                                               918

One half-cup macaroni and cheese                                       900

Fast food hamburger                                                                900

Chicken soup, canned (I cup)                                                 870

One pickle                                                                                  830

Imitation crab meat (3 ounces)                                               715

Canadian bacon (11/2 ounces)                                              700

Pizza (I slice)                                                                           456

Banana (one)                                                                          450

Apricot (one)                                                                           313

One cup corn flakes                                                               200

Fig (one)                                                                                  148

One shake of the saltshaker                                                   100

One whole egg                                                                        60

One half cup cooked carrots                                                  50

One med. Corn on the cob                                                     3

 

Salt is not simply about your weight, calories, or diet. It’s about you life! Cultures where people consume diets similar to our ancestors have low blood pressure rates and almost no incidence of hypertension.

 

 

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