Is Salt Bad For Your Health? Know The Truth
As promised, this post continues with yesterday’s “Is Salt Bad for your health?” theme. If you’ve been following along this week, however, you already know that excess salt is bad for a very large number of reasons.
But if you’re still not persuaded (and eager to dig into a holiday tin of premium salted nuts, a tray of crackers, cheese and sausage, or some other sodium-saturated seasonal treat?
These three additional answers to the question “Is salt bad for your health?” might be enough to change your mind.
Salt is Bad for Your Bones
A few days ago, I posted on the delicate balance between our potassium and sodium levels. When present in the proper ratio, those two electrolytes play a large role in the function of our blood, muscles, and nerves.
Our bodies also put 99 percent of the electrolyte calcium to work, building, and repairing our bones. Does this mean potassium and sodium aren’t involved in keeping our bones healthy?
Not at all! Continuing researching on just how interdependent our bodies’ systems are never failing to surprise and amaze me. And the way they utilize electrolytes is no exception!
As a Harvard Health article said specifically of sodium and potassium research, “… [R]esearchers are beginning to tease out their roles in bone health.”
So, questions remain about excess sodium’s effect on bone health. An older woman concerned about osteoporosis may be asking herself, “Is salt bad for my bones?”
In this must-see video, Dr. Greger reviews a Journal of Bone and Mineral Research article analyzing the connection between excessive salt consumption, urinary calcium excretion, and bone loss.
One might think taking calcium supplements might balance their bone electrolytes out, but this isn’t the case. Other studies mentioned in the video indicated that supplemental calcium might stimulate bone loss in some people. In Dr. Greger’s words, the additional electrolytes, “… messed up their bodies’ natural adaption.”
Taking a calcium supplement to replace excretion, however, is mostly not be suitable for expectant mothers
Because bones store lead for up to ten years, which escapes into the bloodstream as we lose bone mass. No one wants to expose a growing baby to lead. The best course of action is not to consume excess salt during pregnancy.
Is Salt Bad? Your Stomach Thinks So.
In a video reviewing the widely recognized health benefits of sodium backed, soy-baste miso paste. Dr. Greger quotes an expert report from the Second World Cancer Research Fund / American Institute for Cancer, saying, “Salt is a probable cause of stomach cancer.”
The report estimates that for every extra gram (1000mg) of salt we consume each day over the AHS’ recommended limit, our cancer risk climbs 8 percent.
Included on the Mayo Clinic’s list of stomach cancer risk factors are:
- A diet high in salty and smoked foods
- A diet low in fruits and vegetables.
What’s the number one source of dietary salt for Americans aged age? 20 to 50?
So I was less than surprised to come across a meta-analysis from Italy’s Federico II University Medical School researchers claiming:
“Stomach cancer risk differed significantly between the dietary groups, and was significantly lower in vegetarians than in the meat-eaters.”
Salt Is Bad For Your Kidneys
Following a sodium overdose, your bloodstream struggles to remove excess water, and your blood pressure shoots up. At the same time, your kidneys are also working to rid you of the extra water. And in a vicious cycle, your high blood pressure directly damages your kidneys.
Then there are kidney stones. Because you couldn’t possibly ever want to pass one, Dr. Greger has some tips on avoiding them:
- Drink 10 to 12 cups of water a day.
- Reduce animal protein.
- Reduce salt.
- Eat more vegetables.
To which I’d add, “Avoid processed foods if possible.” (If not, always check their labels for sodium content before eating.)
See where I’m going with this? Instead of asking. “Is salt bad for you?” why not start asking:
“What’s taking me so long to ditch the salty, processed animal-based foods for all my sweet or savory. salt-free, plant-based alternatives?”