How many times have you heard the advice to “limit salt consumption?” I’ve heard this so often over the years in tel-lie-vision commercials and on the radio. Meanwhile, at grocery stores so many products are marketed as “salt-free” or “no salt”. Yet historically, salt has been a prized possession throughout the ages.
In ancient Rome, for example, salt was a critical commodity and played a significant role in the empire’s economy. During the Middle Ages, salt continued to be highly valuable and was used not only for seasoning and preserving food but also for medicinal purposes. Along ancient African and Asian trade routes, salt was a valuable commodity, as it was used not only as a seasoning but also as a crucial element for preserving food in hot climates. The historical value of salt in trade was not only due to its culinary and medicinal uses but also because of its role in food preservation.
Why is it, therefore, that in modern times we’ve been told to “limit salt consumption, particularly common table salt” when historically salt has been highly prized?
Here’s what you need to know about salt:
First, the concerns around “salt” are related to sodium intake and its potential impact on health. High sodium intake has been linked to various health issues, and reducing salt intake is often recommended for certain populations.
However, it’s important to note that not all salts are created equal. Common table salt is often associated with these concerns, however, other types of salts, such as Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt, contain additional minerals and trace elements that can offer health benefits in moderation.
In this video, naturopath Barbara O’Neill, ND explains the difference between Celtic sea salt, Himalayan salt and highly processed table salt.
In addition, she emphasizes the importance of water, sodium, potassium, and magnesium in maintaining a healthy body. She advises using Celtic sea salt instead of table salt as Celtic sea salt contains 82 minerals in their balanced form and can aid in quick hydration due to its magnesium content. Table salt, on the other hand, contains only 2 minerals, and is highly processed.
Dr. Barbara, ND also highlights the need for fiber, protein, and good fats in regulating food intake and regulating insulin resistance. Additionally, she explains why proper hydration plays a critical role in combating various health complications such as joint issues, headaches, and even dementia. Proper nourishment and hydration habits can bring about overall health and wellness, along with a clear and renewed mind.
00:00:00 Barbara discusses the importance of water and the vital elements needed for life, including sodium and potassium. Sodium is essential to get water inside cells, but table salt is dangerous because it contains two very harsh minerals that need other minerals to soften and balance them. Consequently, when someone is not eating enough fruits and vegetables, and they are putting table salt on everything, sodium levels rise, and potassium levels drop, leading to high blood pressure. Instead, Barbara suggests that we use Celtic salt over table salt because it contains 82 minerals hand-harvested from seawater in their balanced form.
00:05:00 In this section, Barbara explains how the magnesium in Celtic salt can help the body to hydrate quickly. When a crystal of Celtic salt is put on the tongue, the mucous membranes absorb the minerals, and the magnesium is taken to the cell membrane to pull water inside the cell. This process is the quickest way to hydrate a body. Barbara advises that people drink water spread out over the day with a little bit of salt before each glass of water to avoid excess water drinking. She also emphasizes that Celtic salt enhances the flavor of food and provides additional minerals to the body while table salt can kill taste buds and cause an imbalance of minerals. Additionally, she explains how sodium is required to transport glucose into the bloodstream and enhance the flavor of food.
00:10:00 When you eat a high carbohydrate diet with little salt and water intake, it can lead to issues such as insulin resistance, where the cells resist insulin and glucose can’t get into the cell. To recover from insulin resistance, it’s important to lower carbohydrate intake and increase fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Many people in the USA are not getting enough water, Celtic sea salt, greens (which contain magnesium), vitamin D, and minerals. As a result, this causes a lack of energy and difficulty in losing weight. Incorporating the right nutrients and making lifestyle changes can lead to overall health and wellness.
00:15:00 In this section, Barbara emphasizes the importance of fiber, protein, and good fats, as they are the ones that signal when the body has had enough food. She points out that people who are on a high carbohydrate diet may think that by going fat-free, they will lose weight. However, a fat-free diet can lead to dehydration, mineral deficiency, glucose deficiency, and high blood pressure.
Dr Barbara explains that understanding the workings of cells is crucial to understand how different factors can affect the body. She recommends a book by an Iranian doctor named Dr. Batmanghelidj called “Your Body’s Many Cries for Water,” which highlights the significant impact hydration has on our health. In addition, Barbara provides an assessment of how much water our body needs, and how much we typically lose through urination, skin, colon, and lungs.
00:20:00 In this section, Barbara discusses the importance of drinking enough water and the consequences of not doing so. She explains that the body loses about two and a half quarts of water every day, and that this loss needs to be replenished by drinking at least two quarts of water a day. Barbara notes that not drinking enough water can cause the body to go into a form of drought management and release a hormone called histamine, resulting in the body stealing water from the lining of the stomach, causing a breakdown of the tissues known as stomach ulcers. She shares a story about a man who came to their retreat with stomach pain caused by Helicobacter pylori and had been unsuccessful in his attempt to get rid of it using antibiotics. After four months on her program, including her herbal remedies, juices, and slippery elm herb, he was able to alleviate his stomach issues.
00:25:00 Next, Barbara shares an anecdote about a man who had stomach problems for twenty five years but found relief by drinking water at the right time, which allowed his body to heal itself. The man had mistakenly been drinking almost a whole liter of water with every meal, diluting the hydrochloric acid in his stomach and thus allowing opportunistic bacteria, specifically Helicobacter pylori, to thrive, leading to tissue breakdown. By drinking water only between meals and stopping half an hour before eating, his mucosa wall was able to strengthen, and the thicker hydrochloric acid was able to wipe out the harmful bacteria. Barbara notes that increasing hydrochloric acid can help eliminate bacterial growth in the gut.
00:30:00 Shifting gears, Barbara discusses how dehydration can affect our bodily functions. She explains that the pancreas releases hormones, such as insulin and glucagon, to balance blood sugar levels and helps in digesting starch, fat, and protein. However, dehydration can compromise our digestion and even lead to symptoms of diabetes. Our brain cells shrink, leading to headaches and negative thought patterns in a state of dehydration. Even our joints, lungs, and blood can be affected by lack of water. Moreover, she shares a story about a man at the retreat who suffered from chronic headaches, a congested chest, and lower back pain, all of which improved after he addressed his dehydration.
00:35:00 In this section, Barbara shares a story about a 44-year-old man who was experiencing lower back pain, headaches, and pain in his lungs. He revealed that he drank no water and instead relied on coffee and Coca-Cola. After convincing him to hydrate himself properly, his pain dissipated and his quality of life improved significantly. In addition, she discusses how tea, when consumed in excess, acts as a dehydrating agent. Furthermore, dehydration can contribute to brain deterioration, including Alzheimer’s and dementia. She illustrates this with a story about a woman, aged 70, with dementia, whose condition was partly due to dehydration.
00:40:00 Next up, Barbara recounts a story about an elderly woman in an aged care facility who had not been drinking any water and had not had a bowel movement for three days due to dementia. With some encouragement to drink water and an herbal remedy for the bowels, the woman’s faculties returned within 24 hours. Her daughter cancelled her room at the facility and brought her back home, and they both lived together for another 10 years. Barbara stresses the importance of taking care of our bodies so that we can avoid the decline of our faculties in old age and be present to help our families.
00:45:00 Finally, Barbara emphasizes the importance of renewing the mind daily through a healthy lifestyle so that we can make better and more clear decisions. The first steps are to drink more water (filtered and fluoride-free), go to bed early, and eat nutrient-dense food, which makes the mind clear and enables each of us to see things with more clarity.
Healthy vs Unhealthy Salts – Dr Barbara O’Neill, ND
Sea salt vs table salt – Dr Axe