The worth of a grain of salt: The benefit and detriment of salt in weight loss and maintenance

by | Sep 13, 2013 | Uncategorized

Weight loss has fascinated society into spending money on miracle products and marketing -a lot of money. But, perhaps, we can turn to our own cupboards: how much salt do we use? Ever wonder why we can’t just eat one chip? the combination of salt, fat and a touch of sugar keeps us coming back for more. One factor in reaching weight loss goals can be to manage the amount of salt used, as well as monitoring the amount in any canned or prepackaged foods. But salt usage can help and here’s how:

Firstly, let’s look at the typical uses of salt: we use salt in baths, in our food, in neti pots, for smelling and for foot soaks. The types of salt that we can choose from a range in colour: grey, pink and white. These, in turn, come in forms of large crystals, coarse and fine. The whys expand the gamut of taste, mineralization, metabolic alkalinization, disinfectant, and its’ dry property.

A look at sodium chloride, common table salt, we gain much taste and oft times, much water retention as well. Sodium is an extracellular component that balances with potassium, an intracellular factor in energy production. These salts, both sodium and potassium are essential to life but in the proper proportions. Cutting back on sodium chloride, using salt alternatives (such as Herbamare, potassium chloride, and seaweed mixes) and reading labels to help better choose low sodium can help in reducing and preventing water retention and its’ more serious counterpart of edema.

There has been a lot of hype around the usage of calcium salts and their role within arterial stiffness -while this is a matter that deserves its’ own write-up, I will mention that stress plays a major role in the inflammatory process, taking a bath to relieve stress and using different bath salts can be excellent. Magnesium chloride retains water with superiority to that of other salts and is implicated in muscle pains. Pink Himalayan sea salt in baths provides an excellent variety of minerals and is therapeutic in relaxation. What’s the relation to weight loss? Stress increases our cortisol levels which in turn signals an increase in blood sugar and long term stress can create resistance to insulin. Hence, the deeper our relaxation, the better and this is attainable with the addition of salts in the bath.

One of my favourite advocates in the seeking of a healthy weight is with the use of seaweeds. Salty by the nature of the density of the minerals in the seas, seaweed is a fine component of iodine occurring naturally (table salt usually lacks sufficient amounts of iodine and is added) and gently works with the thyroid, the gland that oversees our metabolic rate (amount of energy available for us to use) and a healthy thyroid provides us with the energy we need for a day of meeting our goals and permitting fatigue for restful sleep.

Additionally, seaweeds nourish our skin, hair, and nails -foundational for a sense of well-being. While we may not use the deeply pigmented green of chlorella or spirulina in our meals, we can enjoy it in a variety of ways: smoothies, yogourt, fruit salads, and raw nutballs. So, enjoy a salty snack occasionally, avoid processed foods, drink ample amounts of water, swim in the oceans or take a bath with salts and implement seaweeds into your cuisine -feel your energy rise, your hair grow in thick and strong and your goals in seeing the numbers on the scale correlate with your ideal** BMI.

Knowing your salt is a step in the right direction. Your body is a complex of systems that requires the full complex of elements, some in trace amounts and others in great quantities. As we replenish our systems with good nutrition, we are given the miracle of health, a good sense of self and the practice of wisdom.

”The cure for anything is saltwater: sweat, tears or the sea.” – Isak Dinesen

”We must pay greater attention to keeping our bodies and minds healthy and able to heal. Yet we are making it difficult for our defenses to work. We allow things to be sold that should not be called food. Many have no nutritive value and lead to obesity, salt imbalance, and allergies.” – David Suzuki

**Please note that the body mass index (BMI) is a tool to use that is not inclusive to individual dynamics and specifics such as weight training, origin, disease and so forth.

Nicole Reilkoff ND

Nicole Reilkoff ND

Nicole Reilkoff certified Naturopath and reflexologist, offers her professional bilingual, services from the Queen Elizabeth Health Complex situated in Montréal.




Pin It on Pinterest

Share This