Everything You Need to Know About Salt28/01/2020, Lanserhof
Once called the 'white gold' salt was seen as a rare commodity prior to being industrially extracted. In the modern world, salt is a comparatively cheap raw material that is processed in large quantities in our food to improve its taste. Many are unaware that our taste buds get used to a certain amount of salt being used in our foods and so we need ever-larger amounts to achieve the same enjoyment effect.
According to a study in Germany by the Robert Koch Institute, women consume an average of 8.4 grams of salt a day, whilst men consume 10 grams. However, the World Health Organization advises against the consumption of more than 5 grams of salt a day. This corresponds to about 1 teaspoon. Therefore it is clear to see that the majority of us consume far more salt than is beneficial to our health.
The average person underestimates their salt consumption as they calculate only 25% of the salt they actually add to their food themselves. 75% of the daily amount of salt can really be found in industrially processed food. Large quantities of salt are contained in bread and rolls, meat and especially sausages, processed dairy products and cheese. Salt can also be found in ready meals, fast food and snacks as well as in crisps and savoury biscuits.
To find out the salt content in packaged foods you must look at the sodium content indicated. This value must be multiplied by 2.54 to determine the actual salt content.
When we talk about salt, we usually refer to table salt, i.e. pure sodium chloride (NaCl). This salt is a technically purified product. Natural salts contain many other minerals and trace elements that are highly important for maintaining good health. After consumption, NaCl lingers in the body in a dissolved state as Na ions and Cl ions. These ions have a great influence on our water balance, the nervous system, muscle functions, digestion and bone formation. Excessive salt consumption, therefore, can have a negative effect on the body, e.g. on inflammatory processes, changes in the intestinal flora and our immune system. In addition, excessive salt consumption also leads to high blood pressure.
However, it must be noted that an insufficient intake of salt also has a negative effect on our health. According to the latest studies by the Boston University School of Medicine, a salt intake of 2.3 grams should not be undercut.
SIGNS THAT YOUR SALT CONSUMPTION IS HIGH
- Your sense of taste has changed: Processed products have an inherently high salt content. Consume too much of this and you may find freshly cooked food bland.
- Suffering from unexplained headaches. Too much salt can cause the blood vessels in the brain to dilate and cause pain.
- Weight gain, feeling bloated or swelling in the joints such as the ankles of the fingers and feet.
- High blood pressure can be a consequence of too much sodium in the body.
WHICH SALT IS HEALTHIEST?
The question of which salt is the healthiest is determined by the way salt is extracted.
- Sea salt
Sea salt is extracted from seawater that dries in artificially created basins by sun, wind and heat. It contains all the minerals and trace elements of the sea, but increasingly also impurities such as microplastics or heavy metals
- Evaporated salt
Evaporated salt is formed by the evaporation of brine. Brine is saline water from underground lakes, which, in addition to pure common salt also contains other healthy mineral and trace elements. These so-called secondary salts would slow down production facilities. For this reason, these mineral and trace elements, which are important for humans, are removed.
In addition, the evaporated salt is mixed with chemicals to prevent clumping, including aluminium. It is marketed under the name table salt and is used in the food industry, restaurants, pubs and canteens.
- Rock salt
Rock salt is the result of the evaporation of earlier seas. It is collected in underground tunnels, crushed and bottled without further refining. Apart from NaCl, it contains all original minerals and trace elements and is, therefore, the healthiest salt.
When choosing your salt, make sure that you buy untreated, natural and unrefined salts without preservatives.
HOW CAN YOU REDUCE YOUR SALT INTAKE?
Avoid industrially processed food.
Season your dishes first with spices and herbs and if necessary round off the taste with only a pinch of salt.
DO ATHLETES NEED MORE SALT?
For athletes, the right amount depends on a variety of factors such as the weather, physiology, fitness level and the intensity of the workout. Runners who sweat a lot naturally lose more sodium than those who do not sweat much. For recreational or amateur athletes, it is sufficient to take a salted snack or a sports drink with around 200 milligrams of sodium per quarter-litre after physical exertion, for example, if they sweat profusely. This helps the body to regulate its fluid level optimally. Top athletes often use a salt test to determine the amount of sodium they need.
If this blog has got you interested in starting your wellness journey at Lanserhof please call our wellness advisors at
020 7843 3597 or enquire here.