We had a heated discussion about salt at our house the other week. Basically, it centered on one thing: should we use table salt or sea salt? And like all health and nutrition information, it can be a bit confusing sometimes. Table salt has iodine (which your thyroid needs to function) in it. Sea salt doesn’t. Sea salt has minerals in it. Table salt doesn’t. And what does all of this have to do with holistic pain relief?
Part of the reason I support sea salt is that recently the results of some studies have been released that show the downside of table salt. In fact too much salt may play a role in triggering autoimmune disease and inflammation. The original study was published in the journal Nature, and reported in this article on Reuters.com.
Quoting Reuters, “The findings suggest that salt may play a previously unknown role in triggering autoimmune diseases such as MS or type 1 diabetes in individuals who are already genetically predisposed.” The article does clearly state that salt wouldn’t be the only reason why autoimmunity would develop, but that it is one of a combination of likely triggers.
And as a holistic pain relief coach, I was interested to read that the study also saw a very direct connection between consuming fast food and a “marked increase in levels of destructive inflammatory cells.” In my book, inflammation equals pain. So if eating the opposite of fast food—home-cooked, unprocessed foods, and moderate amounts of sea salt—can decrease inflammation then I’m going to encourage those types of changes.
Another study showed that, “adding salt to the diet of mice induced the production of Th17 cells and that mice genetically engineered to develop a form of MS had more severe disease than mice fed a normal mouse diet.” TH17 cells are a specific type of autoimmune cell—a T Helper 17.
Now it should be said that it may be a pretty long time until studies on humans prove this to be more conclusive. But if switching to sea salt (and keeping it moderate) could reduce inflammation and prevent more painful autoimmune disease from developing, then a change may be worth considering.
p.s. Just a note about iodine and thyroid glands. If you are living with or predisposed to thyroid disease, please be sure to consider this information wisely and discuss with the appropriate health care professional. Iodine is available to us in many ways from foods to multivitamins. Please take personal responsibility to get the amount you need for your health.
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