A new report that questions the value of an ultra-low sodium diet is not a license to dump mountains of salt on your food, according to a top holistic physician. But David Brownstein, M.D., says that the headline-making findings from the prestigious Institute of Medicine sprinkle some common sense on the salt debate.
“I’ve been talking about the government’s nonsensical salt recommendations for more than 10 years,” Dr. Brownstein told Newsmax Health. “This report validates my contention that salt restriction is not only useless, but dangerous.”
The findings confirm the long-held contention that too much salt can lead to heart disease and stroke, but they also acknowledge that there is not enough evidence to determine exactly how much salt is too much, or too little, and indeed what amount of sodium is optimal.
The report conflicts with current government recommendations that call for about half of Americans to restrict their daily sodium intake to 1,500 mg (about two-thirds of a teaspoon of salt). This recommendation applies to those over age 51, African Americans, diabetics, and people with kidney disease or high blood pressure.
Dr. Brownstein, author of the book Salt Your Way to Health, contends that salt has been unfairly blamed as a major cause for America’s health woes. Processed food and other factors are the real culprits, he says.
“Salt is a vital dietary nutrient. It is not too much salt but too little salt that leads to high blood pressure, increased cholesterol levels, and unhealthy blood glucose levels,” Dr. Brownstein said.
However, he does not advocate the use of large amounts of refined table salt, which is the usual type found in salt shakers. “Most salt that is sold is refined salt, which has the minerals stripped from it,” he says. He recommends unrefined brands including Celtic Sea Salt or Redmond’s Real Salt. These brands contain vital amounts of magnesium, potassium, and other minerals.
“I’ve tested thousands of patients who are salt deficient. People need to eat the right kind of salt and in adequate amounts,” said Dr. Brownstein, author of the newsletter Natural Way to Health
. He recommends 1-3 teaspoons of unrefined salt daily and a diet based on unprocessed foods.
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