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Thoughts on Salt and Sodium

Posted by Trainer Aaron on September 17, 2010

As a Trainer and Nutritionist I get this question a lot: “how much sodium should I be taking in each day?” While I admire people’s curiosity and their attempts to do things right, my answer is often that I don’t count sodium, nor do I recommend that my clients watch their sodium intake. My honest opinion is that there’s no point. It’s not to say that eating a ton of salt is a good thing, but I believe this is a case of not being able to see the forest for the trees. It’s looking too closely at something, that simply is one of the symptoms of a crapy diet. A good diet, is not one that is low in sodium, but one in which sodium is not an issue. 10,000 years ago people didn’t go around watching their sodium intake. In fact, many people couldn’t even get enough salt.

“So what is your sodium solution?”

In my opinion there are three major sources of sodium today, that when minimized or eliminated, sodium becomes a non-issue. Those three sources are processed food, fast food, and soda. These products use large amounts of sodium for a few reasons: they make them taste better, they act as a preservative helping food last longer, and they make you want more. My simple sodium solution is to avoid these foods.

“The Sodium Challenge”

If you want to test this theory then try this. Keep track of your sodium for one week on a normal diet, or look back over the last couple days and calculate your sodium intake. You may even want to get your blood pressure checked to see what it does as well. Then for two weeks eat nothing that comes out of a wrapper or through a window, and drink nothing but water (see our previous water post for how much to drink), coffee or tea (two cups per day, total). Additionally eat at least one piece of fruit per day, and switch to sea salt.

Depending on where you are to begin with, it’s very conceivable that you could cut your sodium intake in half, just by doing the above.

“Why Sea Salt?”

Sea salt is very different compared to that white stuff that passes as salt in your shaker at home. White, iodized salt is highly processed, and stripped of everything but sodium chloride, then infused with some iodine. Honestly, you could mine the whole world, and never find that substance naturally.

Sea salt on the other hand, is a pinkish color and is usually packed with at least 50 other minerals. Additionally, it is in a form that our bodies can recognize, and deal with properly. Some people will notice an improvement, including a drop in weight, just by switching to sea salt. The best sea salt is “Celtic Sea Salt” and can be found at any Whole Foods Market.

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