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Salt Makes Fat Around the Heart - How Sodium Clogs Your Arteries

Updated on March 14, 2015

When I had open heart surgery in 1976 at Mayo Clinic, my world renown physician told me to throw out the salt shaker. I was allowed to have french fries and a few high salty foods but I was not allow to use the salt shaker from that day forward.

My physician's reasoning was that salt makes "fat around the heart". This was a brilliant way to describe to a 14-year-old the dangers of salt, how salt interrupts the blood flow in your arteries that service your heart.

A Friend's Recent Story

Recently, a close friend of mine confided that he went to the dentist and he could not have his teeth cleaned because of his high blood pressure. He confided to my best friend that here I had a bad heart and took care of myself and for him, he was blessed with a great heart and actively chose to clog his arteries.

Salt Makes Fat Around the Heart

colorful clip art poster with blue physician and red heart with the words that doctors say salt makes fat around the heart
colorful clip art poster with blue physician and red heart with the words that doctors say salt makes fat around the heart | Source

Happy Heart

Happy Red Active Heart-healthy heart running with arms raised up
Happy Red Active Heart-healthy heart running with arms raised up | Source


salt bottle
salt bottle | Source

Salt In Small Doses

Dr. Oz's Review of Salt

Dr. Oz is one of my top three fitness heroes. Finally a physician - and a heart surgeon (another item near and dear to the heart patient) who promotes exercise, diet and nutrition. He provides us with the knowledge we need to take care of our bodies.

Ironically just as I was formulating my thoughts about an article for salt and relaying my friend's journey with high blood pressure, Dr. Oz addressed salt and how it affects your arteries.

In his television show, Dr. Oz shows visually what salt does to our arteries. You see it is our arteries which feed blood to the heart. If we don't keep our arteries clear and open, we have a traffic jam which potentially and in all likelihood will cause either a stroke or a heart attack. Those car wrecks in your body can be avoided by actively managing: 1.) your exercise and 2.) your diet including your salt intake.

Dr. Oz's review of salt is similar to the simple example given by my physician back in 1976. Excessive salt makes the passage of blood difficult for the body causing potential blockages resulting in major traumas to the body such as heart attacks and strokes.

Unfortunately, we don't always have allot of control over our salt intake. With processed foods - watch the volume of salt carefully. Frozen and canned foods are a special concern.

Excessive Salt - Can Lead to High Blood Pressure - Other Traumas to the Body

Excessive salt can clogs the arteries that service our body. Essentially, salt works like a sponge - a little helps, too much, too many sponges block these critical blood terminals. The pressure release is most often seen in a trauma to the body - a heart attack or a stroke. See the videos for a visual representation.

High Blood Pressure

The Proper Pinch Video - The Correct Chef's Way

Here is a link to a great video about the proper cooking technique for using salt - use a pinch not the salt shaker.

In this video they recommend the proper pinch is the correct way to cook - in other words, just like my world renown physician from Mayo Clinic - throw out that salt shaker!

Take a look at this short video: The Perfect Pinch Video

The Salt Institute

"The Salt Institute is the world's foremost source of authoritative information about salt (sodium chloride) and its more than 14,000 known uses.

The Institute is a North American-based non-profit salt industry trade association dedicated to advocating responsible uses of salt (NaCl), particularly to ensure winter roadway safety, quality water and healthy nutrition.

The Institute was founded in 1914 and consists of the leading salt companies in the world united in the common purpose of bringing the myriad benefits of salt to the benefit of mankind."

The Salt Institute's Position

It is important to note that my heart physician and Dr. Oz know the value of salt, it is the excessive salt that they campaign against. For a balance viewpoint, here is a quote from The Salt Institute:

"Medical evidence proves salt is related to blood pressure and several other important risk factors for cardiovascular health. Overall, however, the evidence suggests that low-salt diets may be more problematic than current consumption levels. No evidence demonstrates that current salt intake levels lead to worse health outcomes such as more heart attacks or higher cardiovascular mortality. A careful evidence-based study is needed to determine whether a population salt-reduction advisory would improve health or actually raise the risk of heart attacks. Adoption of true “evidence-based” decision-making should replace the current system for developing dietary guidance by polling expert committees."

My Take Away - Salt is Good and Necessary to the Body in Small Doses

The take away - salt is essential not only to life but to good health in small doses. Without salt, the hydration of our body will suffer. The problem is we have stated using salt as our main spice. We need to diversify our taste buds and kick the salt habit, maintaining salt only in small doses.

For more information on where salt may be hiding in your diet - check out another Hub entitled: Getting Fit - Pinpointing the Hidden trap of Salt

Salt Containers of All Shapes and Sizes

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Sea Salt Sources

Morton Salt -This company is best known for its tag line "When it Rains It Pours" and it iconic little girl with the umbrella. Visit their website for a wide array of products and a complete history of the salt production.

Celtic Sea Salt - This website is an absolute gem - complete with a section on remedies and wellness, educational material, great products with a full line of kitchen and health tools and salt accessories. This is an outstanding website!  5 Stars!!!!!

Natural Sea Salt

natural sea salt
natural sea salt | Source

Sea Salt - What is Different?

Sea salt is different, it has a different taste and is derived from the evaporation of seawater. It is also known by the name of "bay salt" or "solar salt". It is the mineral content that gives sea salt a distinctively different taste. Table salt is pure sodium chloride, refined from mined rock slat (halite) or ...

Sea salt is more expensive and can be found in gourmet cooking and also I am told in kettle potato chips.

Gathered and harvested near the coast of Northwestern France where the ocean water is rich in a variety of minerals makes Celtic Sea Salt® superior to other salts.

The salt is channeled into clay ponds where the sun and wind evaporate the water leaving a rich mineral brine. A salt farmer uses wooden tools to speed its drying and helps the salt crystals form before packaging takes place.

By contrast the everyday table salt we usually see and use is washed and boiled. It is then mixed with iodine, bleaching agents, and anti-caking agents to create a purely white, free-flowing product. Even many sea salts you see in health food stores have been boiled and washed, which ends up removing minerals and trace elements.

Bath Salts

Salt Works - Salt Works is a company that brings to us bath salts from a small island called "Anguilla", located between the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean.

Water Therapy with Bath Salts

The therapeutic value of warm water combined with luxurious bath salt is where you can be excessive!

If you are seeking unusual gifts for the person who has everything, take a gander at considering giving bath salts - with the caveat, of course, for the gift recipient to cut down on their salt intake for the sake of their health in addition to the water therapy with the bath salt!

Salt May Be Linked to Happiness

"Physiologist Alan Johnson of the University of Iowa has discovered that salt intake may be linked to happiness. By depriving rats of salt, Johnson observed rats had less pleasure and desire to perform daily activities, such as pushing a bar to release sugar water. Once the rats were given salt, they became "happy" again. Read the full story as the National Geographic explains."

In Summary - A Balance View of Salt

I love salt and consider it a special treat. I think it is important to share with you the medical problems associated with excess salt.

For fun, I have also include bath salts for a complete review - from table salt to sea salt to bath salt too! All great ideas for gift giving to your loved ones.

Salt makes a wonderful and thoughtful gift especially if you educated your friends and family on the proper use of salt. Explaining the potential health hazards of excess salt may avoid a traumatic event such a stroke or heart attack.  Leave the table salt for very special occasions - throw out that salt shaker at the table and in the kitchen too! Use the proper pinch in the preparation of your food and both you and your family will be healthier for it!

Healthy Heart - Team Effort

healthy heart - team effort of a circle of things
healthy heart - team effort of a circle of things | Source

Have you watched your sodium intake more closely?

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© 2009 Kelly A Burnett


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    • tymmy profile image


      7 years ago

      great hub, I think I'll have to cut down my salt intake. Thanks a lot.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      7 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Sophia Angelique,

      You are ahead of the curve - 4 decades - congrats!

      I just purchased canned peas by DelMonte with no salt added! Yeah!

      There is a ton of salt in processed food. One Asian frozen meal had 60% in one serving! Unbelievable!

      You have been wise for four decades - we have allot of catching up to do. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your story.

    • profile image

      Sophia Angelique 

      7 years ago

      On the other hand, I haven't eaten salt in anything for four decades, and I have chronic problems because salt is a necessary mineral in the body. Everytime, I mentioned to a doctor or something that there was a possibiility that I might be having issues because I didn't eat salt, they told me that there was enough salt in my food. Yes? Since when is there a natural supply of salt in fruit, veggies, and organic meat. No, I didn't think so. Everybody assumed I was eating the same way they were!

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      8 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Aris Budianto,

      You have allot of company with the high blood pressure. It is hard to understand how such a little thing can make a big difference to our health.

    • Aris Budianto profile image

      Aris Budianto 

      8 years ago from Lying along the equator Country

      Thanks for the sea salt GmaGoldie cos I'm the people with high blood pressure. Useful Hub.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      8 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin


      Salt is good in small doses - like many things in life. I am trying to cook for my husband and keep forgetting the salt! Noodles will actually stick without salt. Like many, I too, am trainable.

    • quuenieproac profile image


      8 years ago from Malaysia

      Thanks for a very informative and useful article. Now I know people with high blood pressure and heart problems should avoid salt. Also I will buy only sea salt.

    • RunnerJane33 profile image


      8 years ago

      Every since I read the book by Mark Kurlansky about the history of salt and humans, I have become fascinated by this topic. Thank you for your article, it seems really well balanced.

    • Daniel Carter profile image

      Daniel Carter 

      8 years ago from Salt Lake City, Utah

      After hearing so much about the evils of salt on the heart, this is a very clear and concise explanation, and I'm so glad I read it. I look forward to reading more of your prolific output! Thanks!

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      8 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin


      You are right - in moderation! Thanks for stopping by!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Thanks for this hub! I hear about this a lot and how doctors advise their patients to lessen their salt intake and some even tell them not to use any at all. I guess it is safer as a "gift" than the intake LOL

    • PaulaK profile image

      Paula Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Austin. Texas

      Interesting information on salt. I am thankful that I don't like a lot of salt in my food. I guess we can all improve from where we are in our salt intake. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Dear Harminder Kaur,

      Excellent questions. Actually the salt creates a blockage throughout all the arteries in the body. I had a video which I cannot upload that details how it affects the sensitive arteries. Essentially the video showcases how excess salt reacts like a sponge inside our arteries.

      The arteries service all the organs - you bring up a great point.

      It is both the heart AND the brain that are most sensitive to the blood flow.

      The brain screams for help with a stroke.

      The heart screams for help with a heart attack.

      The clogging of the arteries is throughout the entire body - it is these two relief valves where the body first is disabled - two very sensitive areas.

      Great question. Thank you for asking for the needed clarification.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hello mam,

      Ur article is very informative and very helpful.Bt after reading this one question is there, that why salt intake increases fat deposition around heart only ? and what about other organs?

      Thanks mam

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hello mam,

      Ur article is very informative and very helpful.Bt after reading this one question is there, that why salt intake increases fat deposition around heart only ? and what about other organs?

      Thanks mam

    • jenniferhughs profile image


      9 years ago

      My mother had high blood pressure and never cooked with salt. As a result I never cook with salt ever! There are so many wonderful spices to use to flavor your food, you never have to miss having salt to have a tasty meal.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      best thing I did was to quit salt...that and caffeine

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great question. Let me ask. I will also try my friends who are biochemists. They are exceptional at this type of item. I will keep you posted. Kelly

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 

      9 years ago from Guwahati, India

      It is an important hub that gives valuable information and use of salt in smaller amount to control blood pressure keeping the arteries clean. But it raises many questions to me. You mentioned different types of salt such as – bay salt, solar salt, and table salt. By the term salt we understand a chemical sodium chloride ( Na+Cl-). If the constituent is same how the uses of different types of salt affect the arteries differently? Use of salt increases the fat around the Heart- why? It is the curiosity to know, if you any time meet with Doctor would you clarify? How the chemical is related with the Fat, a polymer? Thanks.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thank you Kelly for such a well written and informative article!

    • Karen Russell profile image

      Karen Russell 

      9 years ago


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Dear Putz Ballard,

      Thank you for your comments.

      Yes, I do sincerely hope it helps people be aware and avoid possible health traumas of heart attacks and strokes.


    • Putz Ballard profile image

      Putz Ballard 

      9 years ago

      A well written article, didn't realize salt was that dangerous. Thanks for sharing, I know all who read this will be more conscious of salt intake.


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