Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The salt war.

What is wrong with Salt?  This question is not answerable at the moment with a definitive.  The current research shows that those with hypertension react poorly to too much sodium.  But not all of them.  It is statistically significant to be a risk factor for Heart Disease, and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, but again, only in some cases of hypertension.

For the non-hypertensive population we really don't have evidence to suggest that sodium is "bad" for us.
There are different kinds of salt.  Your standard refined table salt is 99% NaCl.  Iodized salt includes some iodide to decrease the incidence of iodine deficiency.   Lastly, Sea Salt will usually contain small amounts of iodine, magnesium and calcium, depending upon region and source, these amounts will vary widely.  

In preparing food for health and taste, I use and highly recommend sea salt.  There are a million kinds out there, and I urge you to find your own preference, mostly because I am too lazy to filter through them all.  

The benefits to health are unlikely to find any strong support in a clinical setting, but my assertion would be that a diet with the extra (even small amounts of) minerals in the salt is beneficial.  The difference in taste is also a matter of opinion and not clinically testable, but I assert also that the taste of sea salt is far superior.

But where do we get most of our salt?  It's definitely not from home cooking.  No, most salt in average diets comes from processed foods.  I will not belabor this point, as the NYtimes already did:

Throwing the book at salt,  from yesterday's times.

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