Let’s Talk About Salt: The Good, Bad, & Amazing

Salt has so many amazing health benefits. But many people try to avoid it because they have been led to believe that it is unhealthy. Below you will discover all the amazing health benefits of salt/sodium, the best sources of sodium, the worst sources of sodium, how to make sure you are getting enough in your diet, and so much more!

I have been on a healing journey for quite a few years now. I have spent a lot of money and time trying to heal my body and get my life back.

You can read my full story here.

But it wasn’t until I began to heavily focus on vitamin and mineral intake that my health began to improve dramatically.

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I am not a doctor and the statements on this blog have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please do not ask me for medical advice. Click here to read my full disclaimer.

In my opinion, vitamins and minerals are often overlooked aspects of health, especially minerals.

I wanted to do a series on minerals to highlight the importance of them. I truly believe many health issues people experience are due to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

So to begin the series I wanted to talk about sodium but more specifically salt.

What is Sodium?

Sodium is a mineral that is found in many different foods. It is an essential nutrient. Your body cannot work properly without it.

Salt vs Sodium

Salt and sodium are often used interchangeably but they are not the same thing. Salt is a crystallized mineral compound made of both sodium and chloride.

So although it is not the same exact thing as sodium it is an excellent source of sodium.

Benefits of Sodium/Salt

As I mentioned above, sodium is an essential nutrient. So although sodium/salt often gets a bad wrap in the health community your body can’t survive without it.

Every cell in the human body needs salt to function properly. Below are a few ways sodium/salt can improve your health.

Lowers the Production of Stress Hormones

Salt helps to lower the production of stress hormones. This is why you crave salty foods when you are stressed out.

You can read this study to learn more.

Promotes Healthy Hydration

Sodium helps to hydrate your body on a cellular level. Without sodium (as well as potassium and chloride) water can not be delivered to your cells.

Regulates Fluid Levels

Sodium helps to regulate the amount of fluid that is in and around the cells. Too much fluid or too little fluid can cause significant health issues.

So it is crucial that fluid levels are properly regulated.

Improves Brain Function

Your brain needs sodium to function properly. When you don’t get enough sodium in your diet you may start to experience brain fog and mental fatigue.

Sodium has many other health benefits as well. You can click here to learn more about them.

With all of that being said – the amount of salt/sodium that you should be consuming will be different for each individual person.

Some people will need more and some people might need less. Below are signs and symptoms of not enough sodium in the body and too much sodium in the body to help you get an idea of what might be best for you.

Signs and Symptoms of Sodium Deficiency

Below are several symptoms associated with sodium deficiency.

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Brain fog
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Salt cravings

There are several lifestyle factors that can contribute to sodium deficiency which include excessive sweating, excessive alcohol intake, chronic mold exposure, and more.

Signs and Symptoms of Too Much Sodium

Even though there are many health benefits of sodium it is definitely possible to get too much of a good thing. Below are signs that you might be consuming too much sodium.

  • Excessive thirst
  • Rise in blood pressure
  • Swollen feet or hands
  • Excessive bloating

Addressing Salt Myths

For years, I was terrified of sodium. I truly believed it was horrible for me and I would try my best to avoid eating foods high in sodium and oversalting my food.

I was terrified of sodium not just because I was told to be by the mainstream health community but also because I would quite often have a negative reaction to consuming too much sodium.

But what I eventually discovered was that it wasn’t simply the sodium that was bad and causing a negative reaction, it was the source of sodium as well as a potassium deficiency.

Not all sodium sources are equal. Just like not all sugar sources are equal. Oftentimes when people discuss the dangers of sugar they lump fruits into the same category as high fructose corn syrup.

Fruits and high fructose corn syrup should never be put in the same category. Fruits are a natural food source that contains an abundance of vitamins and minerals.

High fructose corn syrup is a man-made product that has no nutritional value whatsoever.

When the health dangers of sodium are discussed, people rarely differentiate between refined table salt and unrefined salts.

Refined table salt and unrefined salts are not the same thing!

Unrefined Salt vs Refined Salt

Refined table salt is highly processed. Unrefined salt is naturally occurring and remains in its natural state.

Refined table salt is stripped of most of its nutrients and unrefined salt contains electrolytes as well as 84+ trace minerals.

Refined table salts also contain additives such as msg, aluminum derivatives, and more. On the other hand, unrefined salt does not contain any additives. It is simply salt in its purest form.

It is also estimated that 90% of table salt contains microplastics!

The Relationship Between Sodium & Potassium

Another reason why some people might have a negative reaction to sodium is due to a potassium deficiency.

Vitamins and minerals do not work in isolation. They require other vitamins and minerals to work properly.

Sodium and potassium work together. Oftentimes, negative symptoms associated with too much sodium are due to a lack of potassium in the body.

As I mentioned before, I used to experience negative symptoms whenever I consumed too much sodium but those negative symptoms disappeared once I increased my potassium intake.

And not only did the negative symptoms disappear but I started to feel amazing once I began consuming adequate amounts of both potassium and sodium.

Your potassium-to-sodium ratio should be somewhere around 4:1.

A lot of the health issues that are associated with a high-sodium diet like high blood pressure are due to consuming too much sodium and not enough potassium.

The answer is not always to cut back on sodium. The better solution is to increase your potassium intake.

Best Sources of Sodium

The best sources of sodium are the most natural sources. In my opinion, unrefined sea salt is the best source of sodium.

But a few other recommended natural sources are high-quality bacon, sausage, and shrimp.

Worst Sources of Sodium

The worst sources of sodium are the highly processed ones such as refined table salt, salty packaged snacks, and frozen foods.

Different Types of Sea Salt

So at this point, I hope you realize that not all sodium sources are equal. But did you know that not all unrefined salt is equal either?

Some contain heavy metals and other impurities. You can learn a lot about the quality of unrefined salts simply based on their color.

Pink Salt

Pink salt is often referred to as Himalayan salt. It is less processed than table salt and may contain trace minerals. But it is also believed to contain high amounts of iron and other heavy metals which is what gives it its pink color.

Many pink salts contain high amounts of aluminum and lead. You can click here to learn more.

With that being said – I used pink Himalayan salt for years. I definitely think it’s better than refined table salt. But knowing what I know now, I have chosen not to repurchase it.

Grey Salt

Grey salt is also known as Celtic sea salt. What gives Celtic sea salt its grayish color is toxic heavy metals.

Mercury is silver in color and lead is a light grey color.

You can click here to discover the results of lead testing done on many different salt brands. Grey and pink salts almost always test very high for lead.

White Salt

White salts are considered to be less toxic than grey and pink salts simply based on their color alone. But not all white salts are created equal.

This post shows that many popular white unrefined salts test very high for unsafe amounts of lead.

I want to make it clear that I don’t live my life in fear of toxic heavy metals and neither should you. The human body is amazing and minerals actually chelate toxic heavy metals.

But with that being said – if I have an option between a product that contains high amounts of toxic heavy metals and one that does not I would prefer to choose the latter.

And there are several amazing, pure, mineral-rich unrefined salts available so there really is no excuse for using unsafe, toxic, unrefined salts.

My Favorite Salt Brands

My favorite salt brands are Jacobsen Salt Co, SALTVERK, and Crucial Four.

All of these salt brands contain very low amounts of toxic heavy metals and very high amounts of beneficial minerals.

Jacobsen Salt Co Sea Salt

I love their pure kosher sea salt as well as their pure Italian fine sea salt. Jacobsen Salt Co Sea Salt is one of the highest-quality, unrefined salts that you can buy and it’s extremely affordable too.

You can click here to buy it.

Saltverk Icelandic Salt

Saltverk Icelandic sea salt is also one of the highest-quality unrefined salts that you can buy. It is low in lead and extremely mineral rich and affordable too!

You can buy it here.

Crucial Four Icelandic Salt

Crucial Four Icelandic salt is my favorite salt ever. It has trace minerals and is rich in magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sodium.

It is more pricey than the other brands but it is 100% worth it.

It is hand-harvested, filtered for microplastics, and tested for purity and mineral density.

You can click here to learn more about it.

You can also use the code HAPPYHEART to get 10% off your purchase.

Click here to shop.

How to Get Enough Sodium

It’s not very difficult to get an adequate amount of sodium in your diet. One of the easiest ways is to simply salt your food to taste using high-quality unrefined salt.

Salt Food to Taste

Typically the more salt your taste buds require, the more salt your body needs. If something tastes like it needs more salt, add more salt.

Use Salt When Cooking

Dont be afraid to use salt when you’re cooking. One of my favorite books ever is Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. We have been taught to fear salt but this book teaches how important salt is when it comes to cooking a delicious dish.

Consume Adrenal Cocktails

Adrenal cocktails are one of my favorite ways to consume sodium as well as potassium and vitamin C. You can click here for the recipe.

Electrolyte Drink Mixes

I personally think that electrolyte drink mixes are great for people who are severely deficient in both potassium and sodium.

They are also wonderful during the summertime when you may be sweating more and consuming lots of potassium-rich fruits.

But just like sodium and unrefined salts, not all electrolyte drink mixes are created equal. Most of them are full of artificial flavoring and coloring and other toxic additives.

And others have terrible sodium-to-potassium ratios.

I consider myself to be somewhat of an electrolyte drink mix connoisseur because I have researched so many different brands and tried so many different brands.

And there are very few that I recommend. Below are my favorites.

None of these electrolyte drink mixes have perfect ratios or ingredients but they are the best that I can find.

I’ll be sharing a post dedicated entirely to electrolyte drink mixes soon.

Final Thoughts

Please keep in mind – not everyone needs more salt in their diet. Too much sodium is just as bad as not enough.

The amount of sodium you should be consuming depends on your own bio-individuality, lifestyle, and environment.

If you decide to increase your sodium intake start slow and pay attention to how you feel.

If your energy and mental clarity improve whenever you consume more salt that is a good thing and might indicate the need for more sodium in your diet.

If you start to look kind of puffy or your ankles swell you may need to cut back on your sodium intake.

Also, make sure you are getting an adequate amount of potassium in your diet.

I truly believe salt has an undeserved bad reputation based on a lot of misunderstandings and misinformation. And I also believe many people aren’t getting enough high-quality unrefined salt in their diet.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to salt/sodium and its health benefits. I highly encourage you to watch this video if you want to learn more.

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