Are There Better Types of Salt?
Many people with high blood pressure have been told to cut down on their salt intake. What they really mean is to cut down on the sodium intake in particular.
More importantly is the sodium to potassium balance on blood pressure. Too much sodium in relation to potassium is what affect blood pressure. To reduce blood pressure, we want to reduce sodium and increase potassium.
Note however, there is debate as to whether sodium is really a problem or not when it comes to blood pressure. Some say yes. And other say salt is not a problem. It is true that sodium is essential in physiological functioning and that the development of high blood pressure is due to many other factors besides salt intake -- mainly the stiffening of arteries due to calcification or plaque accumulation.
It depends on the individual condition and circumstances. For healthy individuals, salt may not be an issue. But for some people with certain conditions such as high blood pressure, sodium restriction may be warranted.
For those who want to cut their sodium intake, below are some salt alternatives. There are different types of salt, some with less sodium and some with more potassium. My personal favorite is sea salt because it is the most natural.
These are not recommendations, but are general information found on the internet. Check with your doctor first whether they are suitable for your particular condition.
Sea Salt -- higher mineral content
Table salt is the typical white sodium chloride type of "processed" salt. Sea salt is a natural salt. Sea salt is better than table salt for a variety of reasons, one of which is higher mineral content. Although sea salt does contain sodium, it does so to a lesser extent to table salt.
Chris Kresser writes ...
"sea salt and other commercially available natural salts have been shown to contain a higher trace mineral content than refined table salt"
But the quality depends entirely on where they were harvested from. And in fact, if it is salt from the Dead Sea, then it is not recommended for consumption at all due to its high bromide concentration which may lead to bromide toxicity when consumed.
If you feel that ocean pollution is a concern, Chris Kresser mentions Real Salt from Utah beds or Himalayan pink salt as being less polluted.
In the book The New Optimum Nutrition Bible, Patrick Holford writes ...
"Not all salts are bad news. One I sometimes use is Solo salt. ... A study in the British Medical Journal gave this salt to people with high blood pressure and blood sugar came down."
SOLO salt is a particular sea salt that is reduced in sodium and enriched with magnesium and potassium.
However, its website does warns ...
"Persons with hyperkalemia or any kidney disorders should consult a physician before using any product containing potassium, including SOLO®."
Hyperkalemia is when the blood contains elevated levels of potassium. Article on theheart.org does warn that in certain individuals with renal dysfunction or are taking certain drugs may risk having hyperkalemia when using salt substitutes.
Potassium Chloride Salt Substitute
Regular table salt is mainly sodium chloride. A salt substitute such as Nu-Salt and NoSalt is mainly potassium-chloride instead. They have no sodium content, and uses potassium in its place. Hence the same hyperkalemia warning applies.
Dr. Whitaker writes in Reversing Diabetes ...
"While sodium is associated with elevations in blood pressure and other health problems, potassium helps balance levels of sodium and other important minerals, protecting against high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. ... When a recipe calls for salt, I suggest that these patients substitute potassium chloride." [page 256]
Although some people may find a bitter taste to the potassium.
But how safe is potassium chloride? Drugs.com writes ...
"You should not use potassium chloride if you have kidney failure, Addison's disease, severe burns or other tissue injury, if you are dehydrated, if you take certain diuretics (water pills), or if you have high levels of potassium in your blood (hyperkalemia)."
Although it was in the context of therapeutic doses of potassium chloride, and not in the context of salt seasoning.
Regardless, when asked whether salt substitutes are a good idea, ConsumerReports says ...
"And extra potassium can be dangerous for people who have kidney disease or take certain drugs for heart disease, high blood pressure, or liver disease. They should talk with a doctor before using a salt substitute."
And The Straight Dope reports of some tragic incidents involving potassium chloride.
Dr. Whitaker also mentions Cardia Salt [page 256], which does have a little bit of sodium.
The manufacturer, Nutrition 21, claims it to taste just like real salt but with 54% less sodium. In addition, it contains potassium and magnesium and L-lysine monohydrochloride, which is an naturally-occurring amino acid.
This article was written in February 2013 and is only opinion at the time of writing. Author is not a medical professional and may receive revenues from the display ads within article.
-  It's Time to End the War on Salt: Scientific American
The zealous drive by politicians to limit our salt intake has little basis in science
-  Shaking Up The Salt Myth: Healthy Salt Recommendations
In this final article, I describe the types of salt I recommend, and how much salt is ideal for most people.
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