A White Enemy in Your Diet?

salt-91539_1920 “The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for daily sodium intake are 2,300 mg (about 1 teaspoon) for adults under 50; 1,500 mg for adults between 50 and 70; and 1,200 for those over the age of 70.  Americans typically consume from three to five times these amounts.”



Likely, most of us are in the same category as Americans.


My friends and clients often say: “No, it’s not about me, I rarely add salt to my food.” Unfortunately, like hidden sugar, hidden salt is a real problem.


There is a Russian saying that sugar and salt are our “white enemies”.


So what’s so wrong about salt? Nothing, if you use it in moderation. But it can do a lot of damage- if you abuse it.

Salt is actually essential to life:


  • Salt is necessary to retain hydration. It’s the reason why salt is in things like Gatorade and other electrolyte drinks. Doctors use salt to treat patients suffering from dehydration, diarrhea, etc.
  • Salt is key to carrying babies to term.
  • Salt regulates blood sugar. It’s important for diabetics not to have low salt intake.
  • Salt contributes to a healthy thyroid because of iodine.
  • Salt acts as an antihistamine.

What is not so good:

Increased salt consumption is linked to high blood pressure. Even if you don’t develop high blood pressure from eating too much salt, you may still be damaging your blood vessels, heart, kidneys and brain. High salt intake can harm kidney function according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. What is also important to know is that not all salts are the same:


There is “bad” salt and “good” salt.


Bad Salts:


Table Salt is the most refined. It has been depleted of its natural minerals, bleached, iodized, and exposed to toxic chemicals. And, of course, there are chemicals added to give table salt its pristine white appearance and avoid clumping from moisture


Good Salts:


  • Sea salt is produced through evaporation of ocean water or water from saltwater lakes, usually with little processing to keep minerals. The minerals add flavor and color to sea salt.
  • Celtic Sea Salt is harvested from the sun, the wind, and shallow clay ionizing ponds, Celtic Sea Salt is unrefined, unprocessed, kosher, whole sea salt.
  • Himalayan salt is mined 5,000 feet below the Himalayan mountain range and believe to be the purest salt on the plant due to the immense pressure of the mountains.

Try to select one of the good types whenever possible. It’s very hard to eat too little salt, so to be on the safe side, it is better to consider reducing salty foods.


Here are some tips from Dr Weil on how you can limit your salt intake:


Leave the table salt (which has 2,300 mg of sodium in one teaspoon) on the table, and try the following steps to help keep your levels within range:

  1. Use sea salt or kosher salt for cooking. Sea salt has more minerals – displacing some of the sodium – and its complex, nuanced flavor means you can use less. Similarly, kosher salt has 25 percent less sodium than table salt.
  2. Avoid visibly salted foods, especially snack foods.
  3. Rinse canned foods packed in saltwater such as beans, vegetables and tuna, all of which can have high amounts of sodium.
  4. Limit foods that are cured, brined or marinated, as all can add a hefty dose of sodium.
  5. Use alternatives. Herbs, sodium-free spices, vinegars, lemon and lime juice, and toasted sesame seeds all add flavor without the high sodium count.


Recently I fell in love again with tahini. I make it myself, very simple. I buy natural, clean tahini paste in a health food store. Then, I take about a tablespoon of tahini, add lemon juice, minced garlic, pinch of himalayan salt and water to make it liquid enough to pour on a salad. Perfect! It tastes great and is super healthy!

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