Is Salt Good or Bad ?
When I was a child, my favorite candies ever were saladitos. When all my cousins and I would congregate at my Nana’s, who was the matriarch of our family, our parents would give us each a little cash, and the cousins would walk to the corner convenience market. Being the youngest of 20+ cousins, I felt so grown up to be included in the squad. With one dollar to my name, the choice was always easy. I’d buy two packs of saladitos. One pack of the dry kind. One pack with the saladitos in the chamoy-like juice. I would alternate between a dry and wet saladito once I got back to Nana’s. It was heaven. I never, ever had a sweet tooth, even as a kid. I always went for savory, salty snacks. My husband says it’s because I’m salty AF. (No pues wow). I say it’s because this growing girl needed her electrolytes. What we both agree on was that those candies may not be healthy but they sure are delicious.
As I reminisce on my childhood romance with salt, I also think back to my ancestors. Huixtocihuatl, the Aztec Goddess of Salt, was an important figure to our people. To our ancestors, salt was also associated with sex, wealth and fertility. (Think about that next time you salt bae sprinkle some sal on your next meal.) According to Aztec beliefs, Huixtocihuatl once got into a heated argument with her siblings. They tried to drown her in sea water. That is when and where she discovered salt and all its glory. It is amazing to think about a woman, a diosa, who instead of being defeated, discovers something so important and in that way, triumphs. The salt of life. Next time I am in the kitchen cooking with the matriarchs of my family, trying my best to soak up everything they know so that one day I may be at my best for my own legacy, I will fondly recall the story of Huixtocihuatl and her important discovery amidst the most unexpected of circumstances.
So kids like it. Our ancestors loved it. Think of how salt was used to preserve food in the days before refrigeration. Now, what exactly is the deal with salt? Some sources do indeed say it is a necessary electrolyte. In fact, The Keto Diet encourages the consumption of salt to help in the transition of lowering the consumption of carbs. Consuming pink Himalayan Salt can help you stay on track when you are fasting (some team members here at Compton Health Bar use this life hack!) I also recall interviews with athletes like Ronda Rousey. She disclosed an important part of her training diet is pink Himalayan salt. Yet, I have heard other sources say that salt is bad for you. I am sure a lot of us can relate to seeing our own relatives who have high blood pressure avoiding table salt in an effort to stay on top of their health: no gracias, mija. Tengo que quidar my presion. So what the heck? Is salt good for us? Is it bad for us? Is there a middle ground where I can still enjoy savory treats?
As with all things in life, what we must keep in mind here is that balance is key. All things with moderation. Salt is no exception. As long as individuals consume a healthy amount of salt that will suit their unique and particular needs, it’s all good. Sodium is indeed an electrolyte after all. So, yes we do need some salt in our diet.
For example, a salt intake that is too low can be harmful, according to Healthline. However, considering that the average dieta estadounidense is rather high in sodium, you may not have to worry about having too low of a salt intake if you live in the United States. Fast food. Canned soups. TV dinners. Knorr Cubitos de Pollo. Things like that. There are plenty of sources of salt around us.
Too much is not ideal either. According to livescience, “excess sodium increases blood pressure because it holds excess fluid in the body, and that creates an added burden on the heart. Too much sodium will increase your risk of stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer and kidney disease.”
The information is shared here so that you are empowered with as much knowledge as possible so that you can make the best decisions for your health. Remember, balance is of the utmost importance here. Now that that has been established, exactly how much salt does a healthy adult need per day?
How Much Salt Do I Need A Day?
According to the FDA Americans (I prefer the term estadounidense because last I checked the Americas start at Canada and ends at Chile, and we are only talking about the United States in this context…but I digress) “eat on average about 3,400 mg of sodium per day.” However, the American Heart Association recommends that we actually keep it closer to 1500 mg a day. Considering the average “American Diet,” 70% of that daily sodium will likely come from packaged foods. So what’s a good rule of thumb? If most of your food is packaged/processed, you’ve probably exceeded your recommended daily salt intake. If most of your food is real food that did not come from a package, then you is all good homie! Important to mention here as well— if you are quite physically active, you will go through sodium faster than someone who is sedentary. (That is why Pink Himalayan Salt would be such an important part of a training diet for an athlete like Ronda Rousey.)
What Type Of Salt Should I Be Eating?
We’ve established what the right amount of salt is for our bodies. Now, what is the right kind of salt to put into our bodies? I think the most important thing here to consider is that not all salt is created equal. Let’s go over some examples of salt options we typically see:
Table Salt – heavily processed to eliminate minerals and usually contains an additive to prevent clumping (source)
Celtic Sea Salt – trace amounts of minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron and zinc. It also has an alkaline pH.
Pink Himalayan Salt – Similar to Celtic Sea salts in the trace minerals and alkalinity. It also has a higher frequency. You can put a Himalayan salt lamp in your home to absorb filter our negative vibes. If your beliefs align with this sort of thing, putting Himalayan salt into your body can help you stay on a higher frequency as well. In addition to the spiritual benefits, this salt option contains physical health benefits as well. It may improve libido, improve sleep quality, and help circulation.
Using Sea Salt in Cooking
Over all, the emphasis here is balance. Truly, we would all be better off if we tried our best to cook most of our meals. That way, we know exactly what we are consuming. Unfortunately, it can be difficult. Let’s try our best to use discernment when shopping for ingredients. One way to start is by investing in a high quality salt: it’s literally the most important ingredient in the kitchen. Let’s be honest, without salt, even the most perfectly executed dish tastes like it is lacking something. Also, a high quality salt can make a home cook feel good about using salt in recipes. Experiment with different herbs as well for seasoning. I love adding onion and garlic to most of my meals when I cook them. It adds so much flavor with minimal calories. Thyme, Rosemary, Cilantro, and fresh cracked pepper are all great options as well when seasoning your food. Food does not have to taste bland in order to be good for you!
I wish I could say that I cooked every single one of my meals. It is definitely an aspiration. Can you relate? Modern day POC and WOC have a lot on our plates! Work, or school. Maybe both. Some of us have kids. Then we gotta make time for family and friends … self care! There is a lot to do. Meal prepping can help make cooking your meals a little easier. For instance, I try to plan my menu for the week on Sunday night or Monday afternoon. But what about when life happens and the meal prepping plans get interrupted?
What To Do When You Do Not Have Time To Cook At Home
Even with all the planning in the world, things come up. Sometimes, eating comida de la calle is unavoidable. You can do your best to be prepared for the unexpected. For instance, on a busy Monday, if I accidentally over-sleep and do not have time to make breakfast, I usually make a Get Yo Greens Mix. I flood by body with greens en ayunas and it makes me feel ready to tackle the whole week. Or, after a particularly indulgent weekend, I can drink The Compton Detox on a Sunday night and wake up Monday morning with less of a bloat. If you are watching your salt intake due to concerns with your blood pressure, The Hypertension Blend is also an option. Finally, if you would like to try pink Himalayan salt and are not sure where the heck to find it in the hood, we got chu! Swing by to order in person or DM us about shipping.
Additionally, we can do our best to choose options that align with our goals. Unfortunately, there is salt in some of the most unexpected places. Like ok, I expect chips and Mexican Candy to have salt, sure. But I did not expect salt from these other sources. Here is a list of unexpected foods with a high salt content so that you can make the most educated choices when you are faced with a last minute grab and go decision:
Unlikely Sources of Salt:
- Deli Meat
- Sodas (this one surprised me the most)
- Condiments (think like soy sauce)
- Canned vegetables (be sure to rinse thoroughly or try frozen instead)
Tying It All Together:
When it comes to salt, the most important thing to keep in mind is to eat an amount that is healthy for you, based on your current health situation and your goals. Not all salt is created equally, so be sure to opt for high quality salts. That way, you can reap the benefits and avoid any types of risks. Try your best to prepare your meals at home, so you know exactly what is going into your food. If you do not have time to cook a certain meal, remember to order your take out foods with discernment— check the label! Request the nutrition facts. Ask for sauces on the side. Finally, be vigilant of any food options that may have a higher salt content than you anticipated. Stay on top of your game and take your CHB mixes. They will support your health goals so that you can stay on track and feel great about the choices you make.
When it comes to Salt, which side are you on? Do you avoid it? Do you eat it in moderation? Or do you sprinkle that ish on everything? What steps do you take to ensure that you are eating a moderate amount of salt in your diet? We would love to read in the comments. Until next time, cuidanse homies!