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Monday, June 4, 2012

25: More Salt?

The last thing you expect to hear in a doctor’s office is encouragement to take more salt, but it happened to me. Here’s how it unfolded:

I was at my hormone doctor’s clinic; this was just over a year ago. Into the little room came the doctor’s assistant to do the preliminaries. With her she brought a blood pressure monitor.

“Oh, good!” I said. “I’ve been wanting to make sure my blood pressure is okay, because I’ve been taking extra salt.”

“Good,” she responded.

“Well,” I qualified, “I’ve been taking quite bit. Up to a teaspoon a day extra.”

“Good,” she said again. “Take one to two teaspoon daily. But it has to be good quality sea salt.”

“Absolutely,” I assured her.

I had begun taking salt in my drinking water a few months earlier as a result of some articles I had read. I had wondered occasionally, though, whether I was throwing things out of whack. The monitor quickly confirmed, however, that my blood pressure was as low as ever.

At this site, http://curezone.com/foods/saltcure.asp, I have found 20-plus vital functions of salt in the body. For instance, unrefined salt is key in stabilizing irregular heart rhythm. And though reputed to exacerbate high blood pressure, it is actually essential for the regulation of both high and low blood pressure.

Table salt, by contrast, is stripped of everything but sodium and chloride. Then “to further prevent any moisture from being reabsorbed, the salt refiners add aluminosilicate of sodium or yellow prussiate of soda as desiccants plus different bleaches to the final salt formula. After these processes, the table salt will no longer combine with human body fluids, it invariably causes severe problems of edema (water retention) and several other health disturbances.” Our bodies are also obliged to function without the proper balance of the other 82 elements, causing subtle deficiencies and undiagnosable problems.

In an article last summer, I shared about sea salt’s ability to regulate blood pressure , and a reader was subsequently challenged to try it. After a quintuple by-pass some ten years ago, he had maintained a strict, salt-free diet, and he monitors his blood pressure daily. He contacted me to let me know that since beginning to use sea salt on his food, his blood pressure is lower than it’s been in years.

Salt is also apparently vital in the balancing of blood sugar levels; in digestion, clearing mucous, and preventing muscle cramps, varicose veins, and osteoporosis. It’s a natural antihistamine and also helps regulate sleep and maintain healthy libido.

If you drool while sleeping, it’s an indication of salt deficiency.

Here’s one that I found interesting personally:

“When the body is short of salt, it means the body really is short of water. The salivary glands sense the salt shortage and are obliged to produce more saliva to lubricate the act of chewing and swallowing and also to supply the stomach with water that it needs for breaking down foods. Circulation to the salivary glands increases and the blood vessels become ‘leaky’ in order to supply the glands with water to manufacture saliva. The ‘leakiness’ spills beyond the area of the glands themselves, causing increased bulk under the skin of the chin, the cheeks and into the neck.”

Seventeen years ago I developed some severe problems after a performance of an hour and 40 minutes of singing and speaking. I lost my voice for a month (Try handling four young children without a voice!) and my neck swelled up on both sides right under the jawbone. My GP said I was carrying my stress in my neck and it was affecting my salivary glands.

A dear old fellow in our church offered to pray for me; commanded those lumps to come out in the name of Jesus. I touched his arm and said good-humouredly, “No! Those lumps are my salivary glands. I need them!”
Over time I came to recognize that vocal problems come with dehydration, but it was only when I read this article last year that I finally understood the physiology of this swelling that I’ve frequently had in my neck.

Just a year ago in January, during a wintery cold snap, I was speaking and singing at a Christian Cowboy retreat in Manitoba. On the second song, I lost my singing voice—went completely hoarse. It was brutal. By the end of the evening, my contacts were stuck to my eyeballs, and I realized then that something about the heating system in the place was zapping the moisture out of the air, and my body. The second evening, before I got up to share, I drank a pile of diluted orange juice with an extra teaspoon of salt, over and above my usual quota. I sang flawlessly.

Salt. Don’t leave home without it!

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