• Shaira Sakhrani

Lets Talk About SALT/SODIUM

Updated: Sep 18, 2018

(This is Part 1 of a 3-part series on How to Upgrade your Health: with Kitchen Basics)


Food tastes so much better with Salt.


But salt does so much more than just add flavour. Lets see...


Salt is made up of 40% sodium & 60% chloride. Both are needed for our bodies to function optimally.


When sodium is off balance in our bodies, we may have high blood pressure will can lead to a stroke, nerve problems, kidney failure and simply the body will not be functioning well - which in turn will affect all the other systems.

To strike that crucial balance, various authorities have recommended the following intake:

  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): 2300 mg.

  • American Heart Association (AHA): 1500 mg.

  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND): 1500 to 2300 mg.

  • American Diabetes Association (ADA): 1500 to 2300 mg.

  • World Health Organisation (WHO): 2000 mg

Now we know how much sodium we need to intake. Lets look at the different varieties of salt - Table Salt, Sea Salt, Himalayan Salt, Celtic Salt. We will also look at different varieties of soya sauce (as they also provide sodium) such as regular Soya Sauce, Liquid Aminos & Coconut Aminos.


All About Salt, Sodium & Its Varieties


Table Salt


It is white in colour.


Most of the impurities & trace minerals are stripped off as it is highly processed. (Trace minerals are essential for our body to function properly. They include iron, zinc, selenium, fluoride, chromium, copper, iodine, manganese, molybdenum.)


Iodine is added back together with anti-caking agent since table salt tends to clump up easily.


Sea Salt


It is made by evaporating sea water. It is mainly composed of sodium & chloride.


It contains some amount of potassium, iron & zinc.


The quality of sea salt really depends on the quality of water. The darker grey the sea salt, the more unprocessed it is- which means more trace minerals and impurities. Besides, it may also contain heavy metals depending where it is harvested.


Himalayan Pink Salt


Himalayan Pink Salt is harvested in Pakistan from a salt mine.


It contains trace amounts of iron oxide (rust) which gives a pink hue.


It has calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium & slightly lower amounts of sodium than regular white salt.


Kosher salt


It is widely used by the Jewish religion. Jewish law requires the blood to be extracted out of the meat before it is eaten. Kosher salt is effective in drawing blood out.


Kosher salt is similar to table salt, except that its flakes are much bigger and easier to grab by the fingers. Besides, it doesn't have additives such as iodine and anti-caking agent added to the salt.


Celtic Salt


Celtic Salt is greyish in color and contains water so it is a little moist in texture.


It has trace amounts of minerals & is lower in sodium compared to table salt.



Below is a table showing all the different trace minerals in each salt to make a comparison




Which Salt is the Healthiest?

Each Salt has different properties and it depends on what you are looking for to balance your own health. In either case, I would suggest to avoid table salt because it is highly processed with no trace minerals and has additives. I personally use Himalayan Pink Salt.



Soya Sauce


Living in Asia, soya sauce is a staple in our kitchens. It can replace salt easily but you may ask why do we need to avoid it or look at alternatives?


For starters it is made of soy- which is a common allergen. It also contains wheat - that means it has gluten and many people have discovered that they are intolerant to gluten or they feel better without it. Another reason is because it is high in sodium.


What can we replace soya sauce with?


Liquid Aminos


Liquid Aminos is made from non-gmo (genetically modified organisms) soya beans with no additives. It is gluten free, has less sodium than regular soya sauce.


So comparatively it is healthier. I have been using this for a very long time now. It needs some getting used to the flavour in the beginning and how much to use in our regular cooking but in time you get used to it and find regular soya sauce very salty. Regular supermarkets do sell them but I find it way cheaper to order from iherb. There is a difference of almost HKD$30 per bottle. Here is the link.


Coconut Aminos


Coconut Aminos is made from coconut blossom nectar and sea salt.


It is gluten free & much lower in sodium than liquid aminos, with a little bit of a natural sweet taste. However it is soy-free. So if you are looking to be soy free then this is the one to go for.


Other Alternatives


There are other methods we can adopt in our everyday cooking to lower our sodium intake. For instance, incorporating garlic, ginger, lime/lemon juice and herbs-parsley cilantro, etc. All of which have natural salt in them.


You could also use nutritional yeast which is a yellowy powder that has a cheesy & nutty flavour to it. It is made of inactive form of yeast & is a good source of B12 vitamins, which is perfect for vegetarians.


All the above suggestions can help to lower your sodium intake so easily by changing your ingredients in the kitchen. At first you may find that it needs a little getting used but soon your taste buds will get accustomed to it. It is worth making the change as it improves your overall health with minimal effort.


Let me know how it goes or if you have any queries, leave a comment below and I will get back to you.


(This post contains affiliate links. I only promote products I use and love. If you buy through my link, I will benefit at no extra cost to you.)




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References:

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(08)61009-0/fulltext

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/different-types-of-salt#section8

https://www.cfs.gov.hk/english/multimedia/multimedia_pub/multimedia_pub_fsf_34_02.html

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