“Mankind can live without gold but not without salt” – Cassiodorus, Roman Senator circa 500BC
Absolutely the only thing our bodies will most definitely crave without any thoughts of other substance.
We do not need bitter, sour, sweet, umami….etc
We do need salt though.
So what is it with all the salt references?
- How about “I would take that with a pinch of salt”? – Well back in Roman times when poison was hard to swallow, it was taken with a pinch of salt to make it go down easier.
- The word salary has it’s origins with salt as back in the days when a soldiers pay was made up of part money and part salt it was known as Solarium Argentum, from which we derive the word salary.
- When someone is “not worth their salt” it is a throwback to these same days when a soldier was found not to be any use he was referred to as not being worth his salt.
- Even the word Salad is derived from salt!
- Finally, in China throughout the centuries nobility committed suicide by eating too much salt because it was thought to be a very high class way to take your own life due to the sheer expense.
For many hundreds of years salt has been a principal form of economic prosperity and thus the cause of wars and conflicts when countries fight over mineral reserves. Even the Great British empire prospered on the production of salt in India until the Salt Protests when a certain Mahatma Gandhi walked 250 miles to the coastal salt fields, took some clay, boiled it and produced his own salt thus defying the British Empire and breaking the law. It is incredible to think that salt has been traded until late into the last century from as early as 6050 B.C.
Nowadays on a much more practical and domestic level, salt is still used to preserve food stuffs for storage being the agent for osmosis to take place sucking the moisture from the meat thus curing it, meaning it cannot become diseased by virtue of the fact bacteria needs moisture to grow. In the early settlers times in what is now known as the U.S.A, salt was four times as valuable as beef livestock such was the demand and supply of the two very different products. It even played a part in the Civil war with the Confederate states being cut off from their supplies causing a massive downturn in morale!
So what is it about salt that the human body needs. Well put simply the two chemicals Sodium and Chloride (which make up salt in a 40%/60% split) are also known as electrolytes and electrolytes are the minerals required by the body to conduct the electricity our bodies require to work. Want to blink? Thats electricity, want your heart to pump the blood, thats electricity. Now I know it is a good deal more complicated than that but you get the basic idea I am sure. Strangely enough both of the compounds that join together to make the salt are very volatile substances but put them together and they stabilise each other completely making salt a harmless mineral we are happy to keep on our tables along with all of the other condiments.
Unfortunately, if the human body gets too little salt (Hyponatremia) it can lead to muscles spasms, cramp, confusion, headaches and in the worst case coma. The cause of it is usually drinking too much fluid without the minerals being replaced thus flushing the system out to abnormally low levels. These two issues themselves can lead to heart and kidney issues. Too much salt in the diet on the other hand (Hypernatremia) is just as harmful to the body. As salt can dry out meat so it can dry out the body. When the body has too much of a foreign substance/chemical the kidneys deal with the some of the problem but they will simply pump the issue back into the bloodstream thus causing the volume of the blood to increase as it thickens due to reduction in moisture. This in itself is harmful enough due to the reduction in oxygen in the blood but this also causes the blood pressure to rise forcing the heart to work harder.
So it all means one thing, be careful with the amount of salt you consume otherwise it could spell a multitude of sins. But how much should you consume because it is proven now that a reduction in the sodium in your diet doesn’t always lead to a cure of the heart condition that might be ailing you. The recommended daily allowance is 2.4 grams which is about a teaspoon per day.
Really and truly the best way to monitor the amount of salt in your diet is to simply cook everything from scratch because any food which is pre packaged and has a shelf life, has a sodium content which is higher than anything you would cook with. If you live in this environment where fast or convenience foods make up the bulk of your daily diet there is a good chance you are consuming too much salt and putting yourself at risk of heart disease. Paradoxically, if you cook whole foods and leave salt out completely, by the time you have taken on enough fluids to keep hydrated, your body will have dipped dangerously low and you again run the risk of health issues.
It is therefore a very difficult one to navigate so it is really just as well that as I said at the beginning of this post, Salt is the only thing that the body will truly crave….
FOOD DIARY:Friday 14th August 2015
|Qty||Measure||Food||Calories (gr)||Protein (gr)||Carbs (gr)||Fat (gr)|
|Breakfast||1||175mls||Phd Diet Whey Protein||91||17||2.75||1.4|
|1||70gms||Six Seeded Brown Batch||140||8.4||18.2||6.5|
|Lunch||1||83gms||BBQ Salmon Fillet||143||16.9||0||8.3|
|1||50gms||Spicy Bulgar Wheat||75||2.4||13||2|
|Dinner||1||83gms||BBQ Salmon Fillet||142||16.9||0||8.3|
|1||50gms||Spicy Bulgar Wheat||75||2.4||13||2|
Yes, I know that I had the same thing for lunch as dinner but my new invention of Spicy Bulgar Wheat is so lush I could eat it for every meal and there ain’t nothing wrong with BBQ Salmon fillets! So the days consumption was pretty standard stuff with quite a low calorie intake but no rubbish was taken on so no dramas.
Yesterday was the first full day with the new Jawbone Up2 but there was very little to report in the way of movement as I spent most of it sitting down and being very sedentary in the shape of going for lunch and going to the cinema!
Still today should be much more active with a new route planned out and expected to be conquered along with the dog, most probably as you are reading this so tune back in in the morning to see how we got on…. 😉
Stay out of the fridge.