We’re often told to reduce our sodium intake in order to prevent heart disease; but even though reducing our daily intake of sodium has demonstrated the ability to lower blood pressure, I believe it is a short-term method. Furthermore, as salt and potassium are elements required for cellular function and fluid balance, amongst other lifestyle factors, removing them completely from our diet may in fact lead to a higher risk. This is why I believe it is in fact the ratio of sodium-to-potassium intake which is important, perhaps even more so than just salt intake alone. Whilst I believe the intentions of AWASH are good, I would like you to follow me on my journey to taking a more holistic approach. That is, not just removing salt (sodium) from our diets, as not all salt is created equally – instead, let’s focus on the form of salt (refined vs. natural), and the ratio of intake of sodium-to-potassium.
Refined Salt vs. Natural Salt
Let’s go through our pantry shall we? Packaged food: unfortunately, the salt present in packaged food is far from its natural state; man-made chemicals, which have been proven as ‘not safe’, are added in order to prevent it from retaining moisture. Refined table salt: sadly, the salt present in table salt also lacks naturally-occurring minerals present in natural salt. Sea salt: alas, a natural salt which is comprised of approximately 16 percent naturally-occurring trace minerals! My point? Next time you do your grocery shopping, read the label and you'll be surprised at just how much ‘salt’ and how little potassium you are consuming. Limit, or even eliminate your intake of refined salt present in packaged foods, and instead enjoy a whole food diet, with an abundance of potassium-rich foods (dark leafy greens, salmon, avocado, baked potato with the skin on, bananas and zucchinis); and enjoy seasoning your food with herbs and natural salt (always in moderation – no more than a level teaspoon a day!).