Sea Salt or Table? Surprisingly, Table Wins

I've always wondered about this.  What's better, sea or table salt?  Sea salt always seemed very exotic to me, bringing up images of seaweed waving under the water and large white crystals, bigger than regular table salt. When recipes called for it, I always considered them the gourmet ones.

Now a shocking new study has found that "trendy sea salt may be natural but it is not healthy," according to newswise.com.  

"Typically people opt for natural vs. processed to avoid preservatives such as sodium, but in this case, all salt is sodium,” the Web site quotes Ashley Barrient, clinical dietitian, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery & Bariatric Care. “Sea salt and table salt have an equivalent sodium content despite sea salt being deemed less processed than table salt due to the way it is produced.”

We've all been deluged with warnings for years about the dangers of salt.  But Barrient says many healthy adults may think monitoring or lowering salt content doesn’t apply to them. “Many of us have a genetic predisposition for certain diseases or conditions,” she says. “Lowering our sodium intake along with other positive dietary and lifestyle factors can be a proactive measure to prevent or delay the onset of certain conditions and improve management of such conditions long term.” Chronic kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, congestive heart failure, and osteoporosis are a few of the conditions that are worsened by high sodium intake.

The body does require a small amount of sodium in the diet to control blood pressure and blood volume, but most individuals are not at risk of consuming a diet that is too low in sodium. “From a health standpoint, sea salt and table salt should both be minimized and reserved for small indulgences here and there,” says Barrient.

Years ago a friend was playing tennis in high heat when she suddenly collapsed.  "Get a salt tablet, get a salt tablet!" the coach yelled.  It seemed pretty weird to me.  Even at the time I knew salt wasn't so great for you.

The American Heart Association reports that that's exactly what needed to be done. My friend had what's called "syncope," a "temporary loss of consciousness and posture, described as 'fainting' or 'passing out,' usually related to temporary insufficient blood flow to the brain. It most often occurs when the blood pressure is too low and the heart doesn't pump a normal supply of oxygen to the brain.

This condition may be caused by emotional stress, pain, pooling of blood in the legs due to sudden changes in body position, overheating, dehydration, heavy sweating or exhaustion. 

Would it have been better for her to have been given sea salt rather than table salt?   Salt is salt, and unless you're about to collapse on a hot tennis court, the less, the better.

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