Salt gets a bad rap these days. We hear that it is connected to conditions like high blood pressure, and we are admonished to limit our intake of sodium.
But is a low-salt diet really appropriate? Our ancestors consumed far higher amounts of sodium than we do today. What do medicine and science say today other than linking salt to hypertension?
Is salt unhealthy?
Salt played a crucial role in food preparation and preservation for many millennia. Yet, salt has been vilified and deemed unhealthy with its links to hypertension and heart disease.
The idea that a low-salt diet is healthier began around 200 years ago and was based on flawed science. Doctors knew then that our bodies needed salt to maintain blood pressure balance. They believed that too much salt contributed to high blood pressure and heart disease, which led the government to launch campaigns to convince people to curb their salt intake.
However, research is finding that this fundamental theory may be murky. A meta-analysis of over 6,250 patients found there was no actual link between salt intake, high blood pressure, and risk of heart disease. Like many of our dietary recommendations, our beliefs surrounding salt need to be challenged.
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