“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men (Matthew 5:13–16).
Diametrically opposite to these teachings, when you are listening to politicians, take what they say with a grain of salt.
The salt paradox is a day-to-day matter: Rubbing salt in the wound may hurt but salt water is cleansing and disinfecting for a wound.
Salt is what keeps you from being dehydrated, getting a heat stroke or even die when in a long bicycle race or a marathon. It helps you retain the precious water. On the other hand, too much salt would make you swell up and have edema and high blood pressure.
Patients with insufficient salt may become hypothyroid and so salt in the US usually contains added iodine. However, excessive amounts of iodine have been shown to be associated with a greater risk of autoimmune thyroid disease or thyroiditis.
That very same model is being discussed in an article from the last issue of Nature (March 2013). Does too much salt in the diet lead to a higher risk of autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and type-1 diabetes? My first instinct is we have been using salt for thousands of years, I do not believe we consume more of it now so why would the recent increase in autoimmune diseases be related to plain old salt?
One group of investigators at Yale University decided that the increasing use of salt in the typical Western fast food diet may be a likely candidate to be an environmental trigger.
Another investigative team at Harvard and MIT looked at a large family of inflammatory mediators that have been implicated in a number of experimentally-induced autoimmune diseases termed Th17. Surprisingly, the most prominent regulator of Th17 turned out to be an enzyme responsible for the absorption of salt.
I will concede that too much salt can be bad for you especially if and when it causes edema, inflammation and swelling, which are after all the incubators of many an ailment, and the object of many a dietary supplement nowadays.
We have to remember that Correlation does not imply causation. The Nature article lists a number of prestigious institutions accusing salt for many ills but the fact is none of it is really proven yet. It is all conjectures. If you read any dietary label, even bread or sweets they all have salt, more than the 1.5 – 2 g recommended daily. So are we ALL going to suffer autoimmune diseases?
The fact is: Every dietary item should be ingested in moderation and NO we do not need Bloomberg to regulate salt, Michelle Obama to campaign against it or the FDA to ban it. The pendulum has swayed back and forth for coffee, red wine and many other foods. One thing for sure: Without salt there will be a taste buds revolution!
We are the Salt of the Earth implies the intrinsic importance of salt on this earth so let’s not hurry to indict it: