One of the dangers of the war between orthodox medical practitioners and natural medicine proponents is that far too often the baby gets thrown out with the bathwater. Not everything done by the medical orthodoxy is wrong, and not everything coming from their opponents is true. Our search should be for what is true — not what is ideologically correct.
Recently, a number of natural health statements have attacked the idea of controlling salt intake to reduce elevated blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. While I think it is true that extreme reductions in salt intake are harmful, modest reductions are sensible. Studies clearly show a decrease in blood pressure when salt is modestly reduced in the diet.
These studies reported that about 4.5 to 6 grams of salt a day (about a teaspoon) is acceptable. In fact, even this is most likely too great a reduction.
In my search for the reason salt is correlated with cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, and some neurological damage, what I have found is that high salt intake is pro-inflammatory.
Inflammation, as I have consistently noted, is the central cause of a great number of diseases. By increasing inflammation, high salt intake damages cells, tissue, and organs.
(For a detailed discussion on inflammation and its role in many diseases, see my newsletter "Inflammation: The Real Cause of Most Diseases."
Yet here is something no one has ever closely examined: When people reduce their salt intake, they are also reducing their intake of omega-6 oils. This would have a major impact on reducing hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
On the other hand, people with high salt intake might also eat far fewer flavonoid-containing vegetables — and this could also worsen cardiovascular disease and cause hypertension.
In essence, the salt would worsen inflammation and the low flavonoid intake and high omega-6 intake would act together to dramatically worsen the risk by synergistically worsening inflammation.
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