If salt is good for human beings, then who started this false rumor? The first report discussing the relationship between salt and high blood pressure appeared in 1904. Two researchers, Armbard and Beujard, proclaimed that salt deprivation was associated with lowered blood pressure in hypertensive patients. Over the next 50 years, this theory was tested in various studies involving giving test animals huge amounts (10 – 20 times greater than normal) of refined salt, to induce hypertension. As expected, when the animals were no longer overdosed, the blood pressure levels returned to normal.

The most well-known study proving an increase in salt would elevate blood pressure was the Intersalt Trial. This study examined over 10,000 subjects aged 20 – 59 from 52 centers in 39 countries. The authors of this study looked at the relationship between electrolyte excretion and blood pressure. A higher salt intake would result in a larger amount of sodium excreted in the urine. Although there was a slight relationship between blood pressure and sodium excretion, there really wasn’t enough evidence to support that an increase in salt would elevate one’s blood pressure.

However, the results of this study did show that various indigenous groups in South America and Africa did consume relatively little salt and had low blood pressure. But these tribes were practically untouched by modern life, such as not drinking or smoking, and their diets consisted primarily of whole, unprocessed foods. In all likelihood, these factors were more significant in determining blood pressure levels that relative salt intake.

There have been numerous studies that have failed to show a significant causal relationship between salt intake and hypertension. In fact, there is some research that would seem to point to a completely different conclusion.

Many people, including myself, may not be aware that every ten years, the United States government conducts the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). This comprehensive analysis of thousands of citizens looks at various markers of health, including the relationship between inadequate mineral intake and hypertension. After reviewing the data gathered from several surveys, researchers concluded that an inadequate mineral intake (calcium, potassium, and magnesium) is the dietary pattern that is the best predictor of elevated blood pressure in persons at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Since using unrefined salt will supply the body with over 80 minerals for helping to maintain the normal functioning of the human body, it’s important to use it as part of our daily diet. According to Dr. Brownstein, the use of unrefined salt has not resulted in elevated blood pressure in his patients having normal kidney function.
Of course, unrefined salt should be used in moderation, just like any other product. One should check with one’s healthcare provider for advice.

Now, when it comes to enjoying salt with my food, I prefer to purchase unrefined salt from Mate Factor. (more about this salt in how it’s processed in a future article.)

DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional. As with anything to do with one’s health or diet, please consult one’s healthcare provider.

Author's Bio: 

Kelley Curl 7 is the author of the book, "My Curly Hair Self: Living with a Visual Processing Disorder."
Visual processing disorder is the umbrella term for those conditions which cause one not to correctly see (even with corrected lenses) in a normal environment, which includes photophobia, and dyslexia.