- Types of Salt
- Recommended Intake
- Link to High Blood Pressure
- Himalayan Salt
- Risks of Too Much Salt
Eating too much salt of any kind is not recommended for people with high blood pressure or kidney diseases.
Although Himalayan pink salt is often touted as a healthier salt because it is said to contain less sodium per serving than ordinary table salt, no large-scale studies have supported this claim.
What are different types of salt?
Different types of salt have different tastes and textures depending on how they are processed. However, all salts contain 40% sodium, and any difference in sodium content are simply due to the volume and shape of the crystals
- Table or regular salt:
- Sea salt:
- Made by evaporating seawater
- Less processed than table salt
- Contains more trace nutrients such as potassium, iron, and calcium
- Has a larger granule size than table salt
- One teaspoon of sea salt contains 1,872 mg of sodium
- Kosher salt:
- Unrefined, coarse
- Rarely contains additives
- Contains sodium chloride but not iodine, qualifying it as a non-iodized salt
- One teaspoon of kosher salt contains 1,120 mg of sodium
- Himalayan pink salt:
- Coarse, granular, mined salt
- Contains traces of iodine (less than table salt) and other elements
- One teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt contains 1,680 mg of sodium
What is the daily recommended salt intake?
Although salt is an essential nutrient required for many biological processes, excess amounts can lead to high blood pressure, renal dysfunction, stroke, and heart disease. People with these conditions should consume less than 1,500 mg of salt per day.
Regardless of which type of salt you are consuming, moderation is key. The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day, which is roughly how much sodium is in one teaspoon of table salt.
How does salt increase blood pressure?
When you eat too much salt or sodium, extra water is retained in the bloodstream to flush out the salt from the body. This makes your kidneys work overtime to release chemicals such as renin and angiotensin, which cause the blood vessels to narrow and blood pressure to increase temporarily.
Additionally, the renin-angiotensin spike causes the release of another hormone called aldosterone, which increases blood pressure through water retention. Consistent high intake of salt thus results in a constant increase in blood pressure, eventually leading to hypertension.
Additionally, excess salt consumption causes hardening of the blood vessels, leading to increased resistance in the small arteries. This causes the heart to have to work harder to pump blood, resulting in hypertrophy of the heart muscle. Over time, the heart is unable to pump the blood with increased force, causing gradual weakening of the muscle.
What are the nutritional benefits of Himalayan pink salt?
- Nutritional value: According to some claims, Himalayan pink salt contains less sodium per serving than ordinary table salt. Himalayan pink salt also contains a trace amount of minerals that table salt does not have, including:
- Improves respiratory health: It is believed that salt therapy, which involves the inhalation of air infused with salt, is beneficial for respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, more research on this point is needed.
- Prevents dehydration: Salt is necessary to maintain adequate and balanced hydration levels in the body. Getting enough salt, especially before or after vigorous exercise, is important to prevent dehydration caused by lost water and salt, a condition called hyponatremia.
- Promotes skin health: Salt is believed to have several beneficial effects on various skin conditions such as eczema, depending on where the salt is sourced. The National Eczema Association recommends adding a cup of salt to bathwater for relief from eczema flare-ups.
What are the risks of consuming too much salt?
- Kidney disease: Because excess salt can cause high blood pressure, it also can increase the risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Scientific guidelines advise moderate salt intake to slow the progression of CKD.
- Heart disease: High blood pressure is also the leading cause of cardiovascular disease. Too much salt can therefore lead to heart problems.
- Bone disorders: Consuming too much salt may cause high levels of calcium to leach out of the body during urination. As such, scientists suspect that excess salt could increase the risk of osteoporosis and other bone disorders, although more further studies are needed.
- Hypernatremia (excess sodium): Hypernatremia is caused by excess sodium levels in the blood. This is a serious condition that requires medical attention.
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Cleveland Clinic. Sodium & Heart Health. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/16881-sodium--heart-health
Link R. Kosher Salt: What It Is, Vs. Other Types of Salt, and More. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/different-types-of-salt#other-salt-types/
FoodData Central. [Historical Record]: 100% Natural Himalayan Pink Salt. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/806645/nutrients
Mayo Clinic Health System. Is sea salt healthier than table salt? https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/is-sea-salt-healthier-than-table-salt
American Heart Association. Shaking the Salt Habit to Lower High Blood Pressure. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/changes-you-can-make-to-manage-high-blood-pressure/shaking-the-salt-habit-to-lower-high-blood-pressure
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High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million people in the US have hypertension (1 in 3 adults), and only half of them are able to manage it. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because it often has no has no warning signs or symptoms.
Systolic and diastolic are the two readings in which blood pressure is measured. The American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017. The guidelines now state that blood normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If either one of those numbers is higher, you have high blood pressure.
The American Academy of Cardiology defines high blood pressure slightly differently. The AAC considers 130/80 mm Hg. or greater (either number) stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is considered 140/90 mm Hg. or greater.
If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of developing life threatening diseases like stroke and heart attack.
REFERENCE: CDC. High Blood Pressure. Updated: Nov 13, 2017.
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What Foods Can I Eat for a Low Sodium Diet?Sodium, or salt, is an electrolyte your body needs to function properly. Foods you can eat on a low-sodium diet include fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, low-sodium dairy, and low-salt seasonings and sauces.
What Is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?High blood pressure or hypertension is when the blood pressure readings consistently range from 140 or higher for systolic or 90 or higher for diastolic. Blood pressure readings above 180/120 mmHg are dangerously high and require immediate medical attention.