Do experts recommend a salt-free diet?

Do experts recommend a salt-free diet?

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Salt, a mineral composed of sodium and chloride, not only helps enhance the flavours of foods but also benefits the body in many ways. “Salt helps balance the electrolyte in the body besides regulating water levels,” said Jinel Patel, dietitian, Apollo Spectra, Mumbai. Agreed Dr Dimple Jangda, an Ayurveda expert, and added that salt also “ cleanses the body, dissolves congestionaids digestion, stimulates saliva, increases the absorption of nutrients from our food, and nourishes the nervous system among other benefits,” in an Instagram post.

She further stated that “salt effectively combats dryness in vata (ectomorph) and balances it. If you have symptoms of constipationdry rough skin, dry rough frizzy hair, dehydration, then salt aids in combating these symptoms.” So, despite its many benefits why is a salt-free diet recommended?

Addressing the dilemma, Dr Dimple, said, “Yes, we must go on a no-salt diet, but only occasionally to cleanse the body. ” She added that salt can “imbalance pitta (fire) and kapha (earth and water) in our body, when used excessively, causing premature wrinklesthirst, skin problems, and weakness. It can also cause excess water retention and increase blood pressure Provoking kapha (endomorph) dosha. Pitta (mesomorph) types with excessive acidity, and acid reflux should avoid excess salt because it is heating.”

However, according to Jinel Patel, “a salt-free diet can’t be advised” until there is a medical condition. “In a patient with chronic liver disease, where sodium and potassium are derailed, only then should salt be restricted to not more than 2 gm per day to avoid fluid accumulation. Whereas in patients with ascites or oedema in extreme limbs, salt can be redirected through sodium-containing foods (including all preserved/canned foods),” she added.

It must be noted that 1 gram of salt holds 10 grams of water, so “the right amount of salt helps in holding moisture in our body, thus keeping the bones, muscles, and tissues well hydrated,” Dr Dimple further wrote, suggesting to avoid refined salts that is known to cause the leaky gut syndrome. “Instead use natural salts like Himalayan salt, rock salt, sea salt, black salt (Sai ​​shag salt), and others,” she suggested.

Concluding, Jinel shared that the properties of salt can “be enhanced by adding ginger, garlic, lemon juice, and Indian herbs. These are comparatively healthier and have added properties like antioxidants, anti-inflammatory”.

The World Health Organization recommends the consumption of fewer than 5 grams of salt per day. “A salt intake of less than 5 grams (approximately 2g sodium) per person per day is recommended by WHO for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, the leading cause of death globally. Salt reduction strategies are a ‘best buy’ in the prevention of Non-communicable diseases (NCDs),” the WHO site reads.

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