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SALT FRIEND OR FOE?

My book Live Eat And Heal The Way Nature Intended is based on my journey from sicknes to health. Besides the autoimmune disease, I was obese and my weight stood at 100kg, clothes size 22 (UK). As an experienced senior intensive care nurse, I ate a low salt diet and advocated this for my patients too because this is what the present day food pyramid and most medical guidelines advocate. My health improved and I released a lot of weight when I stopped eating refined sugars, refined carbohydrates, all processed foods and added salt to my diet. Doing my own research had me rethinking everything, seeing positive results I had never seen before. I reduced excess weight and now weigh 69Kg and comfortably fit into a size 12. Over the last 2-3 decades people have been following the food pyramid and guidelines, taking a low salt diet BUT surprisingly with chronic disease on the rise. This does not make a lot of sense.

EFFECTS OF LOW SALT INTAKE


Yes there has been a very big focus on a low salt diet and its effect on lowering blood pressure. But what has been totally ignored is the other effects of a low salt diet on hormones. The New England Medical Journal of Medicine (NEJM) as far back as 1972 conducted studies which showed that a low salt diet lowered blood pressure but also had another impact and increased serum hormones renin, aldosterone, adrenaline and noradrenaline, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Sodium is vital for the body and is required for firing of neurons and contraction of muscles, and many other wonderful functions. The body is tasked to work more if a diet is low in sodium. The kidneys refuse to release any sodium into the urine, and increase the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone cycle. Aldosterone has a job to hold on to sodium by conserving sodium in the salivary glands, sweat glands, kidneys and colon. There is a downside or price to pay when aldosterone levels stay high. High levels of aldosterone are associated with chronic kidney disease, increase in inflammation, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and myocardial thickening.

I am not advocating that people go out and feast on salt but to be mindful and know what happens in the body when the body runs on a low or no salt intake. The body is an ingenious and inventive microprocessor and will work hard to maintain homeostasis but if we continue denying it what it needs for its operation that marks the beginning of system failure and chronic disease. If the low salt diets really worked chronic diseases should be on the decline. People with high blood pressure never get cured even consuming low salt and taking hypotensives religiously this can only maybe show us that salt is not the problem after all.

Stephen Hawking said “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge”

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