Magical Salts…Are They Paleo?

We all know salt is not part of the True Paleo regime.   Yes, for athletes it may be indicated to add some to the diet, if only to replace what we sweat out during all those miles, but for the most part, we as a society don’t need to be dousing our food in the stuff.

The other day I wrote about using less salt in cooking, specifically when asking the chef at a restaurant to be a bit less heavy handed with it.

But what about Himalayan Salt?  Black, Kona Salt?  Fleur de Sel? Ancient Cyprus Salts?   

The Filling Station in Chelsea Market offers more variety of salt than I’ve ever seen in one place!

But does the seemingly exotic nature of the salt mean we can go head and use it with reckless abandon, just like salt-free herbs and spices?

Not at all.

Salt is still salt. 

By weight, both table salt and sea salt have 2,325 mg sodium/teaspoon.

And all salts contribute to:

  • Cardiovascular Disease The Harvard School of Health published a study showing that too much salt is linked to cardiovascular disease. Blood pressure rises with increasing amounts of sodium in the diet, which raises the risk for cardiovascular disease and death rates over the long term.  They cite a recent study which found that “higher salt intake was associated with a 23 percent increase in stroke and a 14 percent increase in heart disease”.
  • Cancer The World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research concluded that higher intakes of salt, sodium, or salty foods is linked to an increase in stomach cancer.
  • Osteoporosis The more salt you take in, the more calcium your body flushes out in the urine. If calcium is in short supply, it can be leached out of the bones. So a diet high in sodium could have an additional unwanted effect—the bone-thinning disease known as osteoporosis.   (Important to note, too, that it is imperative that the calcium sources should be from foods which are alkaline in nature, like leafy greens, rather than dairy, which is so acid it has the same bone-leaching effect on our skeletons.)

Is a pinch of salt now and then going to kill you?

No.  I’d rather have a client tell me that they used a little salt than that they ate a little bit of bread!

Just take it with a grain of salt (oh, dear, sorry about that) and remember it’s still salt, even if it is pink or ancient or from the bottom of a volcano.