7 Ways To Avoid Processed Foods


It is a sad reality: America is overfed and undernourished.  We are eating more processed foods than ever before and it is making us sick, really sick.  Foods that have been processed are nutritionally depleted. They are loaded with extra calories, chemicals and dangerous additives. Most processed foods also contain unnecessary added sugars, salt, fats and for the most part, now processed foods contain genetically modified ingredients. These 7 Ways To Avoid Processed Foods can  help you make better choices and stay healthy.

Processed foods today make up 70% of the U.S. diet. Walk in a grocery store and pay attention to what you see: processed foods everywhere! Did you know that about 80% of those products didn’t even exist 100 years ago? With the introduction of new chemicals and genetically modified crops, the way we eat has changed more in the last 50 years than in the previous 10,000.

Did you also know that according to the World’s Health Organization, about 80% of all chronic diseases are related to a poor diet and lack of physical activity? Poor nutrition in combination with no exercise can lead to all sorts of health problems. If we don’t make a change and start improving our eating habits and lifestyle, we are going to see catastrophic results.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts that 1 in 3 children born after the year 2000 will become diabetic. Overweight and obesity rates have doubled among children and quadrupled among adolescents in the past 30 years! Poor child nutrition could lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma, joint problems, sleep apnea, early puberty, and several cancers. We could be witnessing the first generation of parents who will outlive their children.  Pretty scary don’t you think? How do you get kids to eat healthy? It starts at home! Check out my  5 Tips For Raising Healthy Non-Picky Eaters.

The choices you make now will affect your future health.  If you truly want to change and improve your eating habits you need to start by making little changes.  One change at a time, and before you know it, you and your family will be eating better and healthier.  If you are interested, please take a look at 5 Ingredient Swaps For Healthier Eating . You cannot expect to completely change your eating habits overnight, it is a long process. One improvement at a time, making better choices, getting used to healthy options and saying goodbye to unhealthy eating habits. Processed foods are cheap and convenient, but it is definitely not the way we should eat.

 7 Ways To Avoid Processed Foods

1.-Cook At Home.- The most important way to avoid eating processed foods in my opinion.  Cook your own food and try to stay away from cans and boxes as much as you can.  Making food from scratch is not that complicated.  Before I started making healthier choices, I used to always make mashed potatoes from a box. I thought it was convenient, but then I realized it is not so complicated to boil potatoes and mash them with some butter and salt.  I avoid all the chemicals and preservatives and actually eat real food.  If you use fresh ingredients, you will notice a huge difference as well.  Your meals will be healthier and tastier.  You will know exactly what is in your food if you prepare it yourself using good quality ingredients. I have several easy to make homemade recipes that are ready in less than 30 minutes.

2.- Read Labels.- It is so important to learn how to read labels and be well informed.  You can definitely tell whether a product is healthy if you just look at the ingredients’ list.  In general, the more ingredients, the more processed the product actually is.  Do you see ingredients you can’t pronounce or sugars in the top three ingredients? Then you will know it is not a healthy option. Run if you see high fructose corn syrup! Remember that the ingredient list on a food label is the listing of each ingredient in descending order of predominance. The ingredients used in the greatest amounts first, followed by descending order by those in smaller amounts. I recently shared an article about 5 Processed Kids Snacks You Should Avoid, where I explain reading labels in more detail. Check it out!

3.- Eat more fruits and vegetables.- Think “raw”.  Eating raw fruits and vegetables is best because all the nutrients are intact. If you are not used to it, next time you go grocery shopping, try to buy more fruits and vegetables and incorporate them in your daily diet.  Have some berries or an apple as a snack.  What about some baby carrots with hummus? There are so many varieties and seasonal produce to choose from! Why not trying a vegetable you have never eaten before or that exotic fruit you didn’t know existed? Instead of going to the middle isles looking for boxes of processed foods for snacks like snack bars or cookies, choose real fresh fruits and veggies and make healthier choices. Try making Cauliflower Popcorn, I highly recommend this recipe! Making smoothies or juicing is also a great way to eat more fruits and vegetables. Check out my Green Smoothie Recipe for more ideas.

4.- Buy local.- Whether it is your local bakery or famer’s market, those are places where you can find less processed foods.  Lots of seasonal local fresh fruits and vegetables that have never been frozen, and small family businesses that make homemade foods. About a year ago I discovered a great pasta place near my home. They make it fresh every day and it is a family business. I can actually see how they make the pasta while I am at the store.  Not only is that pasta delicious but so fresh and  made using a few ingredients.  If you go to your local farmer’s market also you will find not only great produce but small businesses that sell local raw honey, local breads and other delicious treats. Remember fresh and local is always better.

5.- Make you own junk food.- We all want to eat some junk food right?  Why not make it yourself and turn it into something healthy?  I love making my own junk food like a good Homemade Mac & Cheese or Chicken Nuggets.  The results are even better in terms of taste and the best part is you don’t have to feel guilty.  Not to mention the amount of chemicals you would not be putting in your body by making your own junk food. Cooking at home is really the best way to avoid processed foods. Try making your own favorite junk food and feel better about making healthier choices!

6.- Choose whole grains.- Whole grain products are less refined and more natural. Studies show that eating whole grains instead of refined grains lowers the risk of many chronic diseases. Your body will digest them easily and they will contain more nutrients so it will be healthier for you. Once again, please read your labels.  If it doesn’t say 100% whole grains then it is really not a true whole grain product.  The first ingredient should be a whole grain also.  Stay away from white bread, pasta and rice and starting switching little by little to whole grains.  Before you know it, you will never want to go back.  I also love trying different varieties of whole grains.

7.-Avoid low-fat and fat free products.- When a product is labeled “low-fat” or “fat free”, it only means it has been highly processed to remove the fat first.  After the fat is removed, the product doesn’t taste good anymore so guess what they add? Sugar! Tons of sugar (usually cheap processed sugar like high fructose corn syrup), to make up for the fat they just removed. Sugar producers can actually label their sugar with a huge “Fat Free” label because sugar is fat free. But what they don’t tell you is that if sugar calories are not used as energy shortly after they are consumed, they are converted into stored body fat. This is why people who go on a diet and start buying these products don’t loose any weight. If you feel like eating something sweet, making your own is also a great way to avoid all the artificial ingredients.

Scientific Links Between Processed Foods and Depression


Research shows that the food you eat can have a profound effect on your mental health. So, regardless of your mental health problems, the importance of addressing your diet simply cannot be overstated.

In a very real sense, you have two brains — one in your head, and one in your gut. Both are created from the same tissue during fetal development, and they’re connected via your vagus nerve, the tenth cranial nerve that runs from your brain stem to your abdomen.

It is now well established that the vagus nerve is the primary route your gut bacteria use to transmit information to your brain, which helps explain why mental health appears to be so intricately connected to your gut microbiome 1 — the bacteria and other microbes living in your gut.

Scientific Links Between Processed Foods and Depression Getting Stronger

For example, researchers recently found that fermented foods helped curb social anxiety disorder in young adults.2,3 Another study4 found that mice engaged in obsessive-compulsive repetitive behaviors were pacified when given a strain of the bacterium Bacteroides fragilis.

Gut bacteria also produce mood-boosting neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). In fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin is found in your intestines, not your brain.

At the end of the day, if you’re trying to address your mental state, optimizing your gut health should be toward the very top of your list.

The Strong Link Between Sugar and Depression

A number of food ingredients can cause or aggravate depression, but the number one culprit is refined sugar and processed fructose, which feed pathogens in your gut, allowing them to overtake more beneficial bacteria.

Sugar also suppresses the activity of a key growth hormone in your brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF levels are critically low in both depression and schizophrenia.

Diets high in sugar also triggers a cascade of chemical reactions in your body that promote chronic inflammation, which over the long term disrupts the normal functioning of your immune system and wreaks havoc on your brain.

Last but not least, refined sugar and processed fructose and grains are key contributors to insulin and leptin resistance, which also plays a significant role in your mental health.

One recent study5,6 found that high-glycemic foods (including those high in refined grains and added sugar) were associated with higher odds of depression.

Added sugar in particular was strongly associated with depression, reconfirming what William Dufty said in his classic best-selling book, Sugar Blues, first published in 1975. Sometimes it takes a while for science to catch up — in this case 40 years!

Other Processed Food Ingredients That Promote Depression

Other processed food ingredients that can contribute to depression and/or other mental health problems include:

  • Genetically engineered (GE) ingredients can significantly alter your gut flora, thereby promoting pathogens while decimating the beneficial microbes necessary for optimal mental and physical health.
  • Glyphosate the most widely used herbicide on food crops in the world with nearly 1 BILLION pounds applied every year — has been shown to cause nutritional deficiencies, especially minerals, which are critical for brain function and mood control. It also causes systemic toxicity, and was recently declared a Class 2A probable human carcinogen. Roundup, in which glyphosate is the active ingredient, has also been shown to increase the antibiotic-resistance of E. coli and Salmonella.
  • Artificial food additives, especially the artificial sweetener aspartame, can wreak havoc with your brain function. Both depression and panic attacks are known potential side effects of aspartame consumption. Other additives, such as artificial colorings, are also known to impact mood.
  • Gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley, may negatively impact mood and brain health.In fact, a number of studies indicate that wheat can have a detrimental effect on mood, promoting depression and even more serious mental health problems such as schizophrenia. Most non-organic wheat is also treated with glyphosate in a pre-harvest processed called desiccation, which adds to its problematic effects (see glyphosate above).

To Heal Depression, Heal Your Gut

As noted by The Epoch Times:7

“In the last 20 years or so, scientists have developed a new respect for bacteria, and the paradigm is turning from a strategy of war, to one of co-existence. Science now considers a robust, diverse bacterial colony to be essential to good health.”

Indeed, the bacteria residing on and in your body outnumber your cells 10 to 1, and viruses in turn outnumber bacteria 10 to 1. In many respects, you are your microbiome.

As Tom Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, told The New York Times:8

“We are, at least from the standpoint of DNA, more microbial than human. That’s a phenomenal insight and one that we have to take seriously when we think about human development.’’

Rapidly mounting research reveals that many of these little microbes have very specific functions, and as a whole play a profound role in your biological processes and overall health — including your brain health.

“According to Dr. Raphael Kellman, a New York City-based physician who specializes in treating the microbiome…the microbiome not only influences our mood, but it also has a lot to do with how the brain functions and develops over time,” The Epoch Times9 notes.

‘By improving the microbiome we can actually see positive changes in mood, cognitive function, and executive function,’ Kellman said…

‘The microbiome communicates with the brain through a number of mechanisms… These pathways include direct neurotransmitters that the microbiome produces.

It communicates with the brain via the vagus nerve, and also via the endocrine system in the stress pathway the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal axis.’

Current treatment for neurological disorders focus on direct changes to brain chemistry, tweaking levels of neurotransmitter chemicals in hopes of tuning in the right balance. But the future of mental health treatment may focus much more on the gut than the brain, and more on food than drugs.”

The fact that improving your microbiome can affect your cognitive function means it’s also important to nourish your gut to stand a better chance against neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s. Interestingly, researchers have also found that recurring depression is associated with shrinkage of the hippocampus, the area of your brain associated with memory formation,10 and depression itself appears to be a risk factor for dementia.

Here, it’s important to take your vitamin D levels into account, as both depression and Alzheimer’s disease are associated with vitamin D deficiency.

The Birth Of A More Holistic Model For Mental Health

Depression and anxiety are typically treated with antidepressants, despite the fact studies have shown them to only be on par with placebos in terms of effectiveness. They’re also associated with a slew of side effects, including the progression into more severe and/or chronic mental health problems. Recent research may in part explain why antidepressants can worsen the situation rather than making it better.

The ‘chemical imbalance’ theory states that depression and anxiety disorders are due to low serotonin levels. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) work by making more serotonin available for use in your brain, which is thought to improve your mood. Alas, recent research reveals that people with social anxiety do not have low serotonin; they have higher than normal levels. So further boosting serotonin with an SSRI will only make the anxiety worse…

The new focus on gut health is a welcome departure from the synthetic drug model. As discussed in The New York Times,11 researchers are listing and investigating psychoactive compounds found in feces, and are experimenting with fecal transplants in animals to assess its effect on neurodevelopment:

“Anxiety, depression, and several pediatric disorders, including autism and hyperactivity, have been linked with gastrointestinal abnormalities. Microbial transplants were not invasive brain surgery, and that was the point: Changing a patient’s bacteria might be difficult but it still seemed more straightforward than altering his genes. When Lyte began his work on the link between microbes and the brain three decades ago, it was dismissed as a curiosity.

By contrast, last September, the National Institute of Mental Health awarded four grants worth up to $1 million each to spur new research on the gut microbiome’s role in mental disorders, affirming the legitimacy of a field that had long struggled to attract serious scientific credibility… It seems plausible, if not yet proved, that we might one day use microbes to diagnose neurodevelopmental disorders, treat mental illnesses and perhaps even fix them in the brain.”

Abnormal Gut Flora Fosters Abnormal Brain Development

Researchers have also begun experimenting with fecal transplants in autistic children,12 and while such investigations are still in its infancy, there’s plenty of cause for optimism. There does in fact appear to be a close connection between abnormal gut flora in infancy and abnormal brain development — a condition Dr. Campbell-McBride calls Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS). GAPS is the result of poorly developed or imbalanced gut flora and may manifest as a conglomerate of symptoms that can fit the diagnosis of autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attention deficit disorder (ADD) without hyperactivity, dyslexia, dyspraxia, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, just to name a few possibilities.

Dr. Campbell believes autistic children are born with perfectly normal brains and sensory organs, but once their digestive system becomes a major source of toxicity instead of being a source of nourishment, they start to develop autistic symptoms. This theory fits in well with more recent research13 published by the American Society for Microbiology, which identified a bacteria (Sutterella) that is unique to the intestines of children with autism. According to the authors:

“Many children with autism have gastrointestinal (GI) disturbances that can complicate clinical management and contribute to behavioral problems. Understanding the molecular and microbial underpinnings of these GI issues is of paramount importance for elucidating pathogenesis, rendering diagnosis, and administering informed treatment.

Here we describe an association between high levels of intestinal, ucoepithelial-associated Sutterella species, and GI disturbances in children with autism. These findings elevate this little-recognized bacterium to the forefront by demonstrating that Sutterella is a major component of the microbiota in over half of children with autism and gastrointestinal dysfunction (AUT-GI) and is absent in children with only gastrointestinal dysfunction (Control-GI) evaluated in this study.”

Nourishing Your Gut Flora May Boost Your Mood and Protect Your Mental Health

All things considered, it seems quite clear that nourishing your gut flora is extremely important to support a positive mood and stable mental health. To do so, I recommend the following strategies:

  • Avoid sugar and processed, refined foods in your diet. Remember eating real food is one of the most powerful and simple strategies you can implement to take control of your health. If you need help doing this, read through my nutrition plan for a simple, whole-food based diet. There is simply no question that eliminating refined sugars is the most powerful intervention the average person can make to improve their gut flora.
  • Eat traditionally fermented, unpasteurized foods. Fermented foods are the best route to optimal digestive health, as long as you eat the traditionally made, unpasteurized versions. Ideally, you want to eat a variety of fermented foods to maximize the variety of bacteria you’re consuming. Healthy choices include fermented vegetables, lassi (an Indian yoghurt drink, traditionally enjoyed before dinner), fermented milk like kefir, kimchee, and natto (fermented soy).
  • Take a high-quality probiotic supplement. If you don’t eat fermented foods on a regular basis, do consider taking a broad-spectrum probiotic. Research has shown that certain probiotics may help alleviate anxiety by modulating the vagal pathways within the gut-brain, affecting GABA levels, and lowering the stress-induced hormone corticosterone.

In summary, foods have an immense impact on both your body and your brain, and eating whole foods as described in my nutrition plan is the best way to support your mental and physical health. Whether you need a quick pick-me-up or you’ve been struggling with poor mood for a while, the best remedy is likely not found in your medicine cabinet but right in your pantry or refrigerator.

Article sources:

Why the War on Salt Is Dangerous


sodium to potassium ratio

Story at-a-glance

  • Evidence shows having the correct potassium to sodium balance influences your risk for hypertension and heart disease to a far greater extent than high sodium alone, and the Western diet tends to be lacking in potassium
  • It’s generally recommended that you consume five times more potassium than sodium, but most Americans eat twice as much sodium as potassium
  • When lowering salt in processed foods, many manufacturers added monosodium glutamate (MSG) instead — a flavor enhancer associated with obesity, headaches, thyroid, liver, kidney and intestinal damage, and much more

The theory that salt is bad for you and contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease is an idea that has become more or less cemented as dogma. Alas, the war on salt has had a number of drawbacks and unintended consequences.

For starters, evidence shows having the correct potassium to sodium balance influences your risk for hypertension and heart disease to a far greater extent than high sodium alone, and the Western diet tends to be lacking in potassium.

Moreover, when lowering salt in processed foods, many manufacturers took to adding monosodium glutamate (MSG) instead — a flavor enhancer associated with a number of health problems, including obesity, headaches, fatigue and depression.

Due to its ability to overexcite neurons, MSG may even raise your risk for neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

War on Salt Is Misguided

In 2010, New York City launched the National Salt Reduction Initiative, a salt-reduction plan aimed at lowering salt in processed foods and restaurant meals by 25 percent in the next four years.

Two years later, Dr. Sean Lucan of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine wrote an article published online in the American Journal of Public Health, saying:1

“We cannot extrapolate that lowering sodium consumption would reduce cardiovascular risk or premature death. Despite assertions to the contrary, we do not know that reducing mean population sodium intake would decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease or save lives.”

At the time, Lucan told The New York Post:2

“We can’t just swallow this as fact — there’s actually debate about this. My concern is that they’re focusing on a single ingredient that the food industry is going to have to replace with something — and what they replace it with might be more damaging.”

Lucan also noted that the relationship between sodium and blood pressure is inconsistent and from a clinical standpoint, insubstantial.

Moreover, he stressed that some studies actually show a low-salt diet can worsen cardiovascular disease and raise rather than lower the risk for early death among patients at high risk of heart disease.

In addition, lowering salt intake could also decrease insulin sensitivity and have an adverse effect on blood lipids. Correctly, Lucan noted that “Refined carbohydrates are a greater enemy.”

Potassium Level Impacts High Blood Pressure More Than Sodium

Studies have clearly shown that having the correct balance of potassium to sodium is far more important than lowering salt alone. Potassium is a naturally occurring mineral your body uses as an electrolyte (substance in solution that conducts electricity), and it is vital for optimal health and normal functioning.

Potassium works in your body to relax the walls of your arteries, keep your muscles from cramping, and lowers your blood pressure.3 The reduction in blood pressure with added potassium has also been associated in studies with a reduced risk of stroke.4

While diarrhea, vomiting, excessive sweating (such as when using a sauna) and some drugs may deplete or disrupt your potassium balance, the most common reason for low potassium is eating a potassium-poor diet.

If you’re eating mostly processed foods, your sodium-to-potassium balance is virtually guaranteed to be inversed.

The average reported intake of potassium from food is about half of the 4,700 mg recommended.5 Research demonstrates these low levels of potassium may have a significant impact on blood pressure, especially when combined with too much salt.

Dr. Paul Welton, professor of epidemiology at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, analyzed 29 trials that demonstrated low levels of potassium resulted in higher systolic blood pressure readings.6 Studies performed since then have found similar results.7,8 According to Welton:9

“The evidence is very strong and very consistent. A higher potassium intake may blunt the effects of excess salt on blood pressure. Potassium’s effect is bigger in people who have higher blood pressure, bigger in older people, bigger in people who are consuming a lot of salt and bigger in black people.”

The Many Benefits of Potassium

Recent research found that women without hypertension who consumed the most potassium (nearly 3,200 mg/day) had a 21 percent reduced risk of stroke. Further, women who consumed the most potassium were 12 percent less likely to die during the study period than those who consumed the least.10

Adequate amounts of potassium are also associated with quicker recovery from exercise and improved muscle strength.11,12 As an electrolyte, potassium helps to regulate the fluid balance in your cells and throughout your body.13

This fluid balance is essential to maintaining life, preventing dehydration at the cellular level and maintaining brain function.14

For example, potassium is important in the transmission of nerve impulses in your brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system.15 Nerve impulses transmitting information from one nerve to the next happens as the result of electrical activity. This activity is what an electrocardiogram measures as it tracks heart activity.

Low levels of potassium have also been linked with high levels of insulin and glucose, associated with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.16 These results have been found in several studies,17 leading researchers to recommend dietary choices that boost potassium levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Sodium/Potassium Ratio Is Key to Strong Muscles and Relaxed Arteries

The key to relaxing your arterial walls and reducing your blood pressure is the sodium-to-potassium ratio. If you eat a lot of processed foods and few fresh vegetables, there’s a good chance your sodium-to-potassium ratio is unbalanced.

If you’re unsure, use cron-ometer.com/mercola, a nutrient tracker that allows you to enter the foods you eat and then calculates the ratio automatically. It’s generally recommended that you consume five times more potassium than sodium, but most Americans eat twice as much sodium as potassium.

This ratio is far more important for your health than your overall salt intake,18 and a better strategy to promote public health would be to forgo the strict sodium reduction element and focus recommendations on a high-quality diet rich in potassium instead, as this nutrient helps offset the hypertensive effects of sodium.

Imbalance in this ratio can not only lead to high blood pressure but also contribute to a number of other health problems, including:

Kidney stones Memory decline Cataracts
Osteoporosis Erectile dysfunction Stomach ulcers
Rheumatoid arthritis Stomach cancer

Less Salt, More MSG

As Lucan suspected, in many cases, food manufacturers did indeed replace the salt with something more damaging, namely MSG. As noted by the International Glutamate Information Service in the article, “MSG Is Useful in a Reduced Sodium Diet”:19

“Since its discovery over 100 years ago, [MSG] has been used effectively to enhance the umami taste in food. It is also an effective means of reducing the levels of salt used in food preparation.

Studies have demonstrated that people find food with low levels of salt much more acceptable when a small amount of [MSG] is added. MSG is mistakenly thought of as being high in sodium. However, MSG contains only one-third the amount of sodium as table salt …

MSG is often an important ingredient for people on a low-sodium diet, because it improves the flavor of a dish while reducing the need for salt … [W]hen MSG is added … sodium levels can be lowered by up to 40 percent while maintaining the desired flavor.”

Health Hazards of MSG

While MSG is touted as a safe food additive, having received “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) status in 1959, scientific evidence against it has stacked up. Ironically, MSG has even been linked to high blood pressure,20 effectively negating the proposed benefit of replacing sodium with MSG. Research has also linked MSG consumption to:

Endocrine disruption, metabolic syndrome, obesity21,22 and weight gain.23 The weight gain, which was not associated with higher amounts of calories, is thought to be related to MSG’s impact on leptin.

People who ate more MSG produced higher amounts of leptin, a hormone involved in appetite regulation and metabolism.

By causing leptin resistance, your body loses its ability to properly process the energy derived from the food

Genotoxicity; specifically, MSG was found to be genotoxic to human peripheral blood lymphocytes (mature white blood cells/immune cells found in your blood circulation)24
Thyroid damage, even at low doses25 Kidney dysfunction26
Intestinal damage, caused by progressive damage to epithelial cells in your small intestine27 Liver damage that can lead to fibrosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and pre-cancerous lesions28,29
Brain lesions,30 seizures and behavioral changes31 Increased risk of infertility32,33
Severe rhinitis in those with MSG intolerance34 Diabetes35

Acute Side Effects of MSG Ingestion

Many also experience more immediate side effects from MSG, with a pounding headache being one of the most prominent. While the exact cause of MSG-induced headache remains unclear, research investigating the matter has demonstrated that MSG “induces a dose-dependent swelling and death of mature neurons,”36 which may be part of the equation. Other common side effects that may occur within an hour or so of eating MSG include:37,38

Sweating Chest tightness Wheezing and/or difficulty breathing Dizziness
Nausea Diarrhea Flushing and/or tingling of the face Burning or numbness in the back of your neck and/or upper body
Heart palpitations Abdominal pain Shaking Weakness in the legs

The MSG Symptom Complex Is Real

A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study39 published in 1997 investigated MSG symptoms by conducting an oral challenge in “self-identified MSG-sensitive subjects” to see whether they really had a higher incidence of symptoms after eating MSG, compared to a placebo. Sixty-one participants received 5 grams (gm) of MSG or placebo as an initial challenge. Of them:

  • 29.5 percent had no response to either MSG or placebo
  • 9.8 percent responded to both
  • 24.6 percent responded to placebo
  • 36.1 percent responded to MSG

While many reported side effects from the placebo, the severity of symptoms were greater among those who received MSG than placebo. The participants were then rechallenged with placebo and 1.25, 2.5 and 5 gm of MSG. According to the authors:

“Rechallenge revealed an apparent threshold dose for reactivity of 2.5 gm MSG. Headache, muscle tightness, numbness/tingling, general weakness and flushing occurred more frequently after MSG than placebo ingestion.

Oral challenge with MSG reproduced symptoms in alleged sensitive person … According to Food and Drug Administration recommendations, the symptoms, originally called the Chinese restaurant syndrome, are better referred to as the MSG symptom complex.”

Vitamin C and Lycopene Offer Protection Against MSG’s Effects

Certain compounds have been found to offer some protection against MSG’s adverse effects. Vitamin C was found to provide “significant protection against MSG toxicity” in one study,40 and lycopene has also been found to avert its neurotoxic effects. A study investigating the latter gave male rats either 5 milligrams (mg) per kilo (kg) of MSG, 10 mg/kg of lycopene, MSG with lycopene, or placebo, for 30 days. According to the authors:

“The results showed that MSG induced elevation in lipid peroxidation marker and perturbation in the antioxidant homeostasis … Glutathione S-transferase … superoxide dismutase … and catalase … activities and gene expression were increased and glutathione content was reduced in the MSG-challenged rats, and these effects were ameliorated by lycopene …

Our results indicate that lycopene appears to be highly effective in relieving the toxic effects of MSG by inhibiting lipid peroxidation and inducing modifications in the activity of cholinesterase and antioxidant pathways. Interestingly, lycopene protects brain tissue by inhibiting apoptosis signaling induced by MSG.”

Hidden Sources of MSG

While added MSG must be listed in the list of ingredients as “monosodium glutamate,” its absence is no guarantee of safety. MSG and synthetic free glutamate in varying amounts can still hide in processed foods under names such as:41

Hydrolyzed vegetable protein Autolyzed or hydrolyzed yeast Yeast extract
Soy extract Protein isolate Natural flavor
Glutamate and monopotassium glutamate Calcium caseinate Gelatin

While not commonly known, MSG is even used as a stabilizer in certain vaccines,42 which seems to be a particularly bad idea considering its many adverse health effects, particularly on the brain. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MSG can be found in the following five vaccines:43

  • Adenovirus
  • Influenza quadrivalent (FluMist)
  • MMRV (ProQuad)
  • Varicella (Varivax)
  • Zoster (Shingles-Zostravax)

Real Food Is the Answer

Getting nutrients from your food instead of supplements is preferable as your food contains more than a single nutrient and in different forms. For instance, potassium found in fruits and vegetables is potassium citrate or potassium malate, while supplements are often potassium chloride. The citrate and malate forms help produce alkali, which may promote bone health44and preserve lean muscle mass as you age.45

Bone loss may lead to brittle bones or even osteoporosis. While potassium in fruits and vegetables may help build bone health, potassium chloride may not. As researcher Dr. Bess Dawson-Hughes from Tufts University explains:46

“If you don’t have adequate alkali to balance the acid load from the grains and protein in a typical American diet, you lose calcium in the urine and you have bone loss … When the body has more acid than it is easily able to excrete, bone cells get a signal that the body needs to neutralize the acid with alkali … And bone is a big alkali reservoir, so the body breaks down some bone to add alkali to the system.”

Research by Dawson-Hughes found that people who were in the neutral range for net acid excretion, meaning they had a fairly healthy balance for bone and muscle health, were eating just over eight servings of fruits and vegetables per day along with 5.5 servings of grains. When they rounded this out, it came to about half as many grains as fruits and vegetables.

For many Americans, a simple recommendation to increase your alkali (and potassium) while reducing acid is to eat more vegetables and fewer grains and processed foods in general.47 When cooking from scratch, you have complete control over how much salt you add.

In addition to that, when you do use salt, make sure its unrefined and minimally processed. My personal favorite is Himalayan pink salt, rich in naturally-occurring trace minerals needed for healthy bones, fluid balance and overall health. To learn more about the importance of unprocessed salt in your diet, see the related articles listed.

Source: mercola.com

Does a Vegan Diet Affect Your Ability to Heal


There is no doubt that the standard American diet leaves much to be desired. The manifest nutritional failings and health challenges created by processed food have motivated many to adopt healthier diets. Obesity is skyrocketing and life expectancy is plunging.

As a result of this diet-driven health calamity, we are flooded with contradictory and often inaccurate health information. Still, most experts would agree that people do not eat enough vegetables. This does not necessarily mean that a vegan diet is ideal. As CNN reported, a vegan diet may pose challenges and adversely impact the healing process.

People who eat a strictly plant-based diet may suffer from subclinical protein malnutrition. They are also at risk for a number of other nutrient deficiencies, as some nutrients simply cannot be obtained from plant foods.

I know that a large number of individuals disagree about the potential dangers of veganism, but my views are informed by 30 years of practicing nutritional medicine. Interestingly, the average vegetarian is far healthier than the average American, most likely due to eating far more vegetables and avoiding many processed foods.

However, this is not a justification to avoid all animal foods. While I certainly would never argue with anyone for avoiding animal foods for ethical reasons, it is important to consider the potential impact on your health. Fortunately, it

Scientists Officially Link Processed Foods To Autoimmune Disease


The modern diet of processed foods, takeaways and microwave meals could be to blame for a sharp increase in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, including alopecia, asthma and eczema. A team of scientists from Yale University in the U.S and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, in Germany, say junk food diets could be partly to blame.

‘This study is the first to indicate that excess refined and processed salt may be one of the environmental factors driving the increased incidence of autoimmune diseases,’ they said. Junk foods at fast food restaurants as well as processed foods at grocery retailers represent the largest sources of sodium intake from refined salts. The Canadian Medical Association Journal sent out an international team of researchers to compare the salt content of 2,124 items from fast food establishments such as Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Subway. They found that the average salt content varied between companies and between the same products sold in different countries.

U.S. fast foods are often more than twice as salt-laden as those of other countries. While government-led public health campaigns and legislation efforts have reduced refined salt levels in many countries, the U.S. government has been reluctant to press the issue. That’s left fast-food companies free to go salt crazy, says Norm Campbell, M.D., one of the study authors and a blood-pressure specialist at the University of Calgary. Many low-fat foods rely on salt–and lots of it–for their flavor. One packet of KFC’s Marzetti Light Italian Dressing might only have 15 calories and 0.5 grams fat, but it also has 510 mg sodium–about 1.5 times as much as one Original Recipe chicken drumstick. (Feel like you’re having too much of a good thing?

You probably are. Bread is the No. 1 source of refined salt consumption in the American diet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Just one 6-inch Roasted Garlic loaf from Subway–just the bread, no meat, no cheeses, no nothing–has 1,260 mg sodium, about as much as 14 strips of bacon.

How Refined Salt Causes Autoimmune Disease The team from Yale University studied the role of T helper cells in the body. These activate and ‘help’ other cells to fight dangerous pathogens such as bacteria or viruses and battle infections. Previous research suggests that a subset of these cells – known as Th17 cells – also play an important role in the development of autoimmune diseases. In the latest study, scientists discovered that exposing these cells in a lab to a table salt solution made them act more ‘aggressively.’ They found that mice fed a diet high in refined salts saw a dramatic increase in the number of Th17 cells in their nervous systems that promoted inflammation. They were also more likely to develop a severe form of a disease associated with multiple sclerosis in humans.

The scientists then conducted a closer examination of these effects at a molecular level. Laboratory tests revealed that salt exposure increased the levels of cytokines released by Th17 cells 10 times more than usual. Cytokines are proteins used to pass messages between cells. Study co-author Ralf Linker, from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, said: ‘These findings are an important contribution to the understanding of multiple sclerosis and may offer new targets for a better treatment of the disease, for which at present there is no cure.’ It develops when the immune system mistakes the myelin that surrounds the nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord for a foreign body. It strips the myelin off the nerves fibres, which disrupts messages passed between the brain and body causing problems with speech, vision and balance. Another of the study’s authors, Professor David Hafler, from Yale University, said that nature had clearly not intended for the immune system to attack its host body, so he expected that an external factor was playing a part.

He said: ‘These are not diseases of bad genes alone or diseases caused by the environment, but diseases of a bad interaction between genes and the environment.’ Humans were genetically selected for conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, where there was no salt. It’s one of the reasons that having a particular gene may make African Americans much more sensitive to salt. ‘Today, Western diets all have high salt content and that has led to increase in hypertension and perhaps autoimmune disease as well.’ The team next plan to study the role that Th17 cells play in autoimmune conditions that affect the skin. ‘It would be interesting to find out if patients with psoriasis can alleviate their symptoms by reducing their salt intake,’ they said. ‘However, the development of autoimmune diseases is a very complex process which depends on many genetic and environmental factors.’ Stick to Good Salts Refined, processed and bleached salts are the problem. Salt is critical to our health and is the most readily available nonmetallic mineral in the world. Our bodies are not designed to processed refined sodium chloride since it has no nutritional value. However, when a salt is filled with dozens of minerals such as in rose-coloured crystals of Himalayan rock salt or the grey texture of Celtic salt, our bodies benefit tremendously for their incorporation into our diet. “These mineral salts are identical to the elements of which our bodies have been built and were originally found in the primal ocean from where life originated,” argues Dr Barbara Hendel, researcher and co-author of Water & Salt, The Essence of Life. “We have salty tears and salty perspiration.

The chemical and mineral composition of our blood and body fluids are similar to sea water. From the beginning of life, as unborn babies, we are encased in a sack of salty fluid.” “In water, salt dissolves into mineral ions,” explains Dr Hendel. “These conduct electrical nerve impulses that drive muscle movement and thought processes. Just the simple act of drinking a glass of water requires millions of instructions that come from mineral ions. They’re also needed to balance PH levels in the body.” Mineral salts, she says, are healthy because they give your body the variety of mineral ions needed to balance its functions, remain healthy and heal. These healing properties have long been recognised in central Europe.

At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain. Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases. Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US. He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts, fruit and vegetables, people are filling themselves up with “mineral empty” processed food and fizzy drinks.

Scientists Officially Link Processed Foods To Autoimmune Disease.


The modern diet of processed foods, takeaways and microwave meals could be to blame for a sharp increase in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, including alopecia, asthma and eczema. A team of scientists from Yale University in the U.S and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, in Germany, say junk food diets could be partly to blame. ‘This study is the first to indicate that excess refined and processed salt may be one of the environmental factors driving the increased incidence of autoimmune diseases,’ they said. Junk foods at fast food restaurants as well as processed foods at grocery retailers represent the largest sources of sodium intake from refined salts. The Canadian Medical Association Journal sent out an international team of researchers to compare the salt content of 2,124 items from fast food establishments such as Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Subway. They found that the average salt content varied between companies and between the same products sold in different countries. U.S. fast foods are often more than twice as salt-laden as those of other countries.

While government-led public health campaigns and legislation efforts have reduced refined salt levels in many countries, the U.S. government has been reluctant to press the issue. That’s left fast-food companies free to go salt crazy, says Norm Campbell, M.D., one of the study authors and a blood-pressure specialist at the University of Calgary. Many low-fat foods rely on salt–and lots of it–for their flavor. One packet of KFC’s Marzetti Light Italian Dressing might only have 15 calories and 0.5 grams fat, but it also has 510 mg sodium–about 1.5 times as much as one Original Recipe chicken drumstick. (Feel like you’re having too much of a good thing? You probably are. Bread is the No. 1 source of refined salt consumption in the American diet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Just one 6-inch Roasted Garlic loaf from Subway–just the bread, no meat, no cheeses, no nothing–has 1,260 mg sodium, about as much as 14 strips of bacon. How Refined Salt Causes Autoimmune Disease The team from Yale University studied the role of T helper cells in the body. These activate and ‘help’ other cells to fight dangerous pathogens such as bacteria or viruses and battle infections. Previous research suggests that a subset of these cells – known as Th17 cells – also play an important role in the development of autoimmune diseases. In the latest study, scientists discovered that exposing these cells in a lab to a table salt solution made them act more ‘aggressively.’ They found that mice fed a diet high in refined salts saw a dramatic increase in the number of Th17 cells in their nervous systems that promoted inflammation. They were also more likely to develop a severe form of a disease associated with multiple sclerosis in humans. The scientists then conducted a closer examination of these effects at a molecular level. Laboratory tests revealed that salt exposure increased the levels of cytokines released by Th17 cells 10 times more than usual. Cytokines are proteins used to pass messages between cells. Study co-author Ralf Linker, from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, said: ‘These findings are an important contribution to the understanding of multiple sclerosis and may offer new targets for a better treatment of the disease, for which at present there is no cure.’ It develops when the immune system mistakes the myelin that surrounds the nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord for a foreign body. It strips the myelin off the nerves fibres, which disrupts messages passed between the brain and body causing problems with speech, vision and balance. Another of the study’s authors, Professor David Hafler, from Yale University, said that nature had clearly not intended for the immune system to attack its host body, so he expected that an external factor was playing a part. He said: ‘These are not diseases of bad genes alone or diseases caused by the environment, but diseases of a bad interaction between genes and the environment.’ Humans were genetically selected for conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, where there was no salt. It’s one of the reasons that having a particular gene may make African Americans much more sensitive to salt. ‘Today, Western diets all have high salt content and that has led to increase in hypertension and perhaps autoimmune disease as well.’ The team next plan to study the role that Th17 cells play in autoimmune conditions that affect the skin. ‘It would be interesting to find out if patients with psoriasis can alleviate their symptoms by reducing their salt intake,’ they said. ‘However, the development of autoimmune diseases is a very complex process which depends on many genetic and environmental factors.’ Stick to Good Salts Refined, processed and bleached salts are the problem. Salt is critical to our health and is the most readily available nonmetallic mineral in the world. Our bodies are not designed to processed refined sodium chloride since it has no nutritional value. However, when a salt is filled with dozens of minerals such as in rose-coloured crystals of Himalayan rock salt or the grey texture of Celtic salt, our bodies benefit tremendously for their incorporation into our diet. “These mineral salts are identical to the elements of which our bodies have been built and were originally found in the primal ocean from where life originated,” argues Dr Barbara Hendel, researcher and co-author of Water & Salt, The Essence of Life. “We have salty tears and salty perspiration. The chemical and mineral composition of our blood and body fluids are similar to sea water. From the beginning of life, as unborn babies, we are encased in a sack of salty fluid.” “In water, salt dissolves into mineral ions,” explains Dr Hendel. “These conduct electrical nerve impulses that drive muscle movement and thought processes. Just the simple act of drinking a glass of water requires millions of instructions that come from mineral ions. They’re also needed to balance PH levels in the body.” Mineral salts, she says, are healthy because they give your body the variety of mineral ions needed to balance its functions, remain healthy and heal. These healing properties have long been recognised in central Europe. At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain. Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases. Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US. He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts, fruit and vegetables, people are filling themselves up with “mineral empty” processed food and fizzy drinks. … Read More:

“These conduct electrical nerve impulses that drive muscle movement and thought processes. Just the simple act of drinking a glass of water requires millions of instructions that come from mineral ions. They’re also needed to balance PH levels in the body.” Mineral salts, she says, are healthy because they give your body the variety of mineral ions needed to balance its functions, remain healthy and heal. These healing properties have long been recognised in central Europe. At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain. Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases. Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US. He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts, fruit and vegetables, people are filling themselves up with “mineral empty” processed food and fizzy drinks. … Read More:

Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US. He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts, fruit and vegetables, people are filling themselves up with “mineral empty” processed food and fizzy drinks. … Read More:

How Refined Salt Causes Autoimmune Disease The team from Yale University studied the role of T helper cells in the body. These activate and ‘help’ other cells to fight dangerous pathogens such as bacteria or viruses and battle infections. Previous research suggests that a subset of these cells – known as Th17 cells – also play an important role in the development of autoimmune diseases. In the latest study, scientists discovered that exposing these cells in a lab to a table salt solution made them act more ‘aggressively.’ They found that mice fed a diet high in refined salts saw a dramatic increase in the number of Th17 cells in their nervous systems that promoted inflammation. They were also more likely to develop a severe form of a disease associated with multiple sclerosis in humans. The scientists then conducted a closer examination of these effects at a molecular level. Laboratory tests revealed that salt exposure increased the levels of cytokines released by Th17 cells 10 times more than usual. Cytokines are proteins used to pass messages between cells. Study co-author Ralf Linker, from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, said: ‘These findings are an important contribution to the understanding of multiple sclerosis and may offer new targets for a better treatment of the disease, for which at present there is no cure.’ It develops when the immune system mistakes the myelin that surrounds the nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord for a foreign body. It strips the myelin off the nerves fibres, which disrupts messages passed between the brain and body causing problems with speech, vision and balance. Another of the study’s authors, Professor David Hafler, from Yale University, said that nature had clearly not intended for the immune system to attack its host body, so he expected that an external factor was playing a part. He said: ‘These are not diseases of bad genes alone or diseases caused by the environment, but diseases of a bad interaction between genes and the environment.’ Humans were genetically selected for conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, where there was no salt. It’s one of the reasons that having a particular gene may make African Americans much more sensitive to salt. ‘Today, Western diets all have high salt content and that has led to increase in hypertension and perhaps autoimmune disease as well.’ The team next plan to study the role that Th17 cells play in autoimmune conditions that affect the skin. ‘It would be interesting to find out if patients with psoriasis can alleviate their symptoms by reducing their salt intake,’ they said. ‘However, the development of autoimmune diseases is a very complex process which depends on many genetic and environmental factors.’ Stick to Good Salts Refined, processed and bleached salts are the problem. Salt is critical to our health and is the most readily available nonmetallic mineral in the world. Our bodies are not designed to processed refined sodium chloride since it has no nutritional value. However, when a salt is filled with dozens of minerals such as in rose-coloured crystals of Himalayan rock salt or the grey texture of Celtic salt, our bodies benefit tremendously for their incorporation into our diet. “These mineral salts are identical to the elements of which our bodies have been built and were originally found in the primal ocean from where life originated,” argues Dr Barbara Hendel, researcher and co-author of Water & Salt, The Essence of Life. “We have salty tears and salty perspiration. The chemical and mineral composition of our blood and body fluids are similar to sea water. From the beginning of life, as unborn babies, we are encased in a sack of salty fluid.” “In water, salt dissolves into mineral ions,” explains Dr Hendel. “These conduct electrical nerve impulses that drive muscle movement and thought processes. Just the simple act of drinking a glass of water requires millions of instructions that come from mineral ions. They’re also needed to balance PH levels in the body.” Mineral salts, she says, are healthy because they give your body the variety of mineral ions needed to balance its functions, remain healthy and heal. These healing properties have long been recognised in central Europe. At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain. Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases. Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US. He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts, fruit and vegetables, people are filling themselves up with “mineral empty” processed food and fizzy drinks.

“In water, salt dissolves into mineral ions,” explains Dr Hendel. “These conduct electrical nerve impulses that drive muscle movement and thought processes. Just the simple act of drinking a glass of water requires millions of instructions that come from mineral ions. They’re also needed to balance PH levels in the body.” Mineral salts, she says, are healthy because they give your body the variety of mineral ions needed to balance its functions, remain healthy and heal. These healing properties have long been recognised in central Europe. At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain. Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases. Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US. He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts, fruit and vegetables, people are filling themselves up with “mineral empty” processed food and fizzy drinks.

Just the simple act of drinking a glass of water requires millions of instructions that come from mineral ions. They’re also needed to balance PH levels in the body.” Mineral salts, she says, are healthy because they give your body the variety of mineral ions needed to balance its functions, remain healthy and heal. These healing properties have long been recognised in central Europe. At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain. Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases. Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US. He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts, fruit and vegetables, people are filling themselves up with “mineral empty” processed food and fizzy drinks. … Read More:

The scientists then conducted a closer examination of these effects at a molecular level. Laboratory tests revealed that salt exposure increased the levels of cytokines released by Th17 cells 10 times more than usual. Cytokines are proteins used to pass messages between cells. Study co-author Ralf Linker, from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, said: ‘These findings are an important contribution to the understanding of multiple sclerosis and may offer new targets for a better treatment of the disease, for which at present there is no cure.’ It develops when the immune system mistakes the myelin that surrounds the nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord for a foreign body. It strips the myelin off the nerves fibres, which disrupts messages passed between the brain and body causing problems with speech, vision and balance. Another of the study’s authors, Professor David Hafler, from Yale University, said that nature had clearly not intended for the immune system to attack its host body, so he expected that an external factor was playing a part. He said: ‘These are not diseases of bad genes alone or diseases caused by the environment, but diseases of a bad interaction between genes and the environment.’ Humans were genetically selected for conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, where there was no salt. It’s one of the reasons that having a particular gene may make African Americans much more sensitive to salt. ‘Today, Western diets all have high salt content and that has led to increase in hypertension and perhaps autoimmune disease as well.’ The team next plan to study the role that Th17 cells play in autoimmune conditions that affect the skin. ‘It would be interesting to find out if patients with psoriasis can alleviate their symptoms by reducing their salt intake,’ they said. ‘However, the development of autoimmune diseases is a very complex process which depends on many genetic and environmental factors.’ Stick to Good Salts Refined, processed and bleached salts are the problem. Salt is critical to our health and is the most readily available nonmetallic mineral in the world. Our bodies are not designed to processed refined sodium chloride since it has no nutritional value. However, when a salt is filled with dozens of minerals such as in rose-coloured crystals of Himalayan rock salt or the grey texture of Celtic salt, our bodies benefit tremendously for their incorporation into our diet. “These mineral salts are identical to the elements of which our bodies have been built and were originally found in the primal ocean from where life originated,” argues Dr Barbara Hendel, researcher and co-author of Water & Salt, The Essence of Life. “We have salty tears and salty perspiration. The chemical and mineral composition of our blood and body fluids are similar to sea water. From the beginning of life, as unborn babies, we are encased in a sack of salty fluid.” “In water, salt dissolves into mineral ions,” explains Dr Hendel. “These conduct electrical nerve impulses that drive muscle movement and thought processes. Just the simple act of drinking a glass of water requires millions of instructions that come from mineral ions. They’re also needed to balance PH levels in the body.” Mineral salts, she says, are healthy because they give your body the variety of mineral ions needed to balance its functions, remain healthy and heal. These healing properties have long been recognised in central Europe. At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain. Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases. Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US. He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts, fruit and vegetables, people are filling themselves up with “mineral empty” processed food and fizzy drinks. … Read More:

He said: ‘These are not diseases of bad genes alone or diseases caused by the environment, but diseases of a bad interaction between genes and the environment.’ Humans were genetically selected for conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, where there was no salt. It’s one of the reasons that having a particular gene may make African Americans much more sensitive to salt. ‘Today, Western diets all have high salt content and that has led to increase in hypertension and perhaps autoimmune disease as well.’ The team next plan to study the role that Th17 cells play in autoimmune conditions that affect the skin. ‘It would be interesting to find out if patients with psoriasis can alleviate their symptoms by reducing their salt intake,’ they said. ‘However, the development of autoimmune diseases is a very complex process which depends on many genetic and environmental factors.’ Stick to Good Salts Refined, processed and bleached salts are the problem. Salt is critical to our health and is the most readily available nonmetallic mineral in the world. Our bodies are not designed to processed refined sodium chloride since it has no nutritional value. However, when a salt is filled with dozens of minerals such as in rose-coloured crystals of Himalayan rock salt or the grey texture of Celtic salt, our bodies benefit tremendously for their incorporation into our diet. “These mineral salts are identical to the elements of which our bodies have been built and were originally found in the primal ocean from where life originated,” argues Dr Barbara Hendel, researcher and co-author of Water & Salt, The Essence of Life. “We have salty tears and salty perspiration. The chemical and mineral composition of our blood and body fluids are similar to sea water. From the beginning of life, as unborn babies, we are encased in a sack of salty fluid.” “In water, salt dissolves into mineral ions,” explains Dr Hendel. “These conduct electrical nerve impulses that drive muscle movement and thought processes. Just the simple act of drinking a glass of water requires millions of instructions that come from mineral ions. They’re also needed to balance PH levels in the body.” Mineral salts, she says, are healthy because they give your body the variety of mineral ions needed to balance its functions, remain healthy and heal. These healing properties have long been recognised in central Europe. At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain. Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases. Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US. He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts, fruit and vegetables, people are filling themselves up with “mineral empty” processed food and fizzy drinks. … Read More:

‘This study is the first to indicate that excess refined and processed salt may be one of the environmental factors driving the increased incidence of autoimmune diseases,’ they said. Junk foods at fast food restaurants as well as processed foods at grocery retailers represent the largest sources of sodium intake from refined salts. The Canadian Medical Association Journal sent out an international team of researchers to compare the salt content of 2,124 items from fast food establishments such as Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Subway. They found that the average salt content varied between companies and between the same products sold in different countries. U.S. fast foods are often more than twice as salt-laden as those of other countries. While government-led public health campaigns and legislation efforts have reduced refined salt levels in many countries, the U.S. government has been reluctant to press the issue. That’s left fast-food companies free to go salt crazy, says Norm Campbell, M.D., one of the study authors and a blood-pressure specialist at the University of Calgary. Many low-fat foods rely on salt–and lots of it–for their flavor. One packet of KFC’s Marzetti Light Italian Dressing might only have 15 calories and 0.5 grams fat, but it also has 510 mg sodium–about 1.5 times as much as one Original Recipe chicken drumstick. (Feel like you’re having too much of a good thing? You probably are. Bread is the No. 1 source of refined salt consumption in the American diet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Just one 6-inch Roasted Garlic loaf from Subway–just the bread, no meat, no cheeses, no nothing–has 1,260 mg sodium, about as much as 14 strips of bacon. How Refined Salt Causes Autoimmune Disease The team from Yale University studied the role of T helper cells in the body. These activate and ‘help’ other cells to fight dangerous pathogens such as bacteria or viruses and battle infections. Previous research suggests that a subset of these cells – known as Th17 cells – also play an important role in the development of autoimmune diseases. In the latest study, scientists discovered that exposing these cells in a lab to a table salt solution made them act more ‘aggressively.’ They found that mice fed a diet high in refined salts saw a dramatic increase in the number of Th17 cells in their nervous systems that promoted inflammation. They were also more likely to develop a severe form of a disease associated with multiple sclerosis in humans. The scientists then conducted a closer examination of these effects at a molecular level. Laboratory tests revealed that salt exposure increased the levels of cytokines released by Th17 cells 10 times more than usual. Cytokines are proteins used to pass messages between cells. Study co-author Ralf Linker, from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, said: ‘These findings are an important contribution to the understanding of multiple sclerosis and may offer new targets for a better treatment of the disease, for which at present there is no cure.’ It develops when the immune system mistakes the myelin that surrounds the nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord for a foreign body. It strips the myelin off the nerves fibres, which disrupts messages passed between the brain and body causing problems with speech, vision and balance. Another of the study’s authors, Professor David Hafler, from Yale University, said that nature had clearly not intended for the immune system to attack its host body, so he expected that an external factor was playing a part. He said: ‘These are not diseases of bad genes alone or diseases caused by the environment, but diseases of a bad interaction between genes and the environment.’ Humans were genetically selected for conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, where there was no salt. It’s one of the reasons that having a particular gene may make African Americans much more sensitive to salt. ‘Today, Western diets all have high salt content and that has led to increase in hypertension and perhaps autoimmune disease as well.’ The team next plan to study the role that Th17 cells play in autoimmune conditions that affect the skin. ‘It would be interesting to find out if patients with psoriasis can alleviate their symptoms by reducing their salt intake,’ they said. ‘However, the development of autoimmune diseases is a very complex process which depends on many genetic and environmental factors.’ Stick to Good Salts Refined, processed and bleached salts are the problem. Salt is critical to our health and is the most readily available nonmetallic mineral in the world. Our bodies are not designed to processed refined sodium chloride since it has no nutritional value. However, when a salt is filled with dozens of minerals such as in rose-coloured crystals of Himalayan rock salt or the grey texture of Celtic salt, our bodies benefit tremendously for their incorporation into our diet. “These mineral salts are identical to the elements of which our bodies have been built and were originally found in the primal ocean from where life originated,” argues Dr Barbara Hendel, researcher and co-author of Water & Salt, The Essence of Life. “We have salty tears and salty perspiration. The chemical and mineral composition of our blood and body fluids are similar to sea water. From the beginning of life, as unborn babies, we are encased in a sack of salty fluid.” “In water, salt dissolves into mineral ions,” explains Dr Hendel. “These conduct electrical nerve impulses that drive muscle movement and thought processes. Just the simple act of drinking a glass of water requires millions of instructions that come from mineral ions. They’re also needed to balance PH levels in the body.” Mineral salts, she says, are healthy because they give your body the variety of mineral ions needed to balance its functions, remain healthy and heal. These healing properties have long been recognised in central Europe. At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain. Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases. Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US. He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts, fruit and vegetables, people are filling themselves up with “mineral empty” processed food and fizzy drinks. … Read More:

These healing properties have long been recognised in central Europe. At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain. Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases. Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US. He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts, fruit and vegetables, people are filling themselves up with “mineral empty” processed food and fizzy drinks. … Read More:

These healing properties have long been recognised in central Europe. At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain. Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases. Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US. He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts, fruit and vegetables, people are filling themselves up with “mineral empty” processed food and fizzy drinks. … Read More:

U.S. fast foods are often more than twice as salt-laden as those of other countries. While government-led public health campaigns and legislation efforts have reduced refined salt levels in many countries, the U.S. government has been reluctant to press the issue. That’s left fast-food companies free to go salt crazy, says Norm Campbell, M.D., one of the study authors and a blood-pressure specialist at the University of Calgary. Many low-fat foods rely on salt–and lots of it–for their flavor. One packet of KFC’s Marzetti Light Italian Dressing might only have 15 calories and 0.5 grams fat, but it also has 510 mg sodium–about 1.5 times as much as one Original Recipe chicken drumstick. (Feel like you’re having too much of a good thing? You probably are. Bread is the No. 1 source of refined salt consumption in the American diet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Just one 6-inch Roasted Garlic loaf from Subway–just the bread, no meat, no cheeses, no nothing–has 1,260 mg sodium, about as much as 14 strips of bacon. How Refined Salt Causes Autoimmune Disease The team from Yale University studied the role of T helper cells in the body.

These activate and ‘help’ other cells to fight dangerous pathogens such as bacteria or viruses and battle infections. Previous research suggests that a subset of these cells – known as Th17 cells – also play an important role in the development of autoimmune diseases. In the latest study, scientists discovered that exposing these cells in a lab to a table salt solution made them act more ‘aggressively.’ They found that mice fed a diet high in refined salts saw a dramatic increase in the number of Th17 cells in their nervous systems that promoted inflammation. They were also more likely to develop a severe form of a disease associated with multiple sclerosis in humans. The scientists then conducted a closer examination of these effects at a molecular level. Laboratory tests revealed that salt exposure increased the levels of cytokines released by Th17 cells 10 times more than usual. Cytokines are proteins used to pass messages between cells. Study co-author Ralf Linker, from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, said: ‘These findings are an important contribution to the understanding of multiple sclerosis and may offer new targets for a better treatment of the disease, for which at present there is no cure.’ It develops when the immune system mistakes the myelin that surrounds the nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord for a foreign body. It strips the myelin off the nerves fibres, which disrupts messages passed between the brain and body causing problems with speech, vision and balance. Another of the study’s authors, Professor David Hafler, from Yale University, said that nature had clearly not intended for the immune system to attack its host body, so he expected that an external factor was playing a part. He said: ‘These are not diseases of bad genes alone or diseases caused by the environment, but diseases of a bad interaction between genes and the environment.’ Humans were genetically selected for conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, where there was no salt. It’s one of the reasons that having a particular gene may make African Americans much more sensitive to salt. ‘Today, Western diets all have high salt content and that has led to increase in hypertension and perhaps autoimmune disease as well.’ The team next plan to study the role that Th17 cells play in autoimmune conditions that affect the skin. ‘It would be interesting to find out if patients with psoriasis can alleviate their symptoms by reducing their salt intake,’ they said. ‘However, the development of autoimmune diseases is a very complex process which depends on many genetic and environmental factors.’ Stick to Good Salts Refined, processed and bleached salts are the problem. Salt is critical to our health and is the most readily available nonmetallic mineral in the world. Our bodies are not designed to processed refined sodium chloride since it has no nutritional value. However, when a salt is filled with dozens of minerals such as in rose-coloured crystals of Himalayan rock salt or the grey texture of Celtic salt, our bodies benefit tremendously for their incorporation into our diet. “These mineral salts are identical to the elements of which our bodies have been built and were originally found in the primal ocean from where life originated,” argues Dr Barbara Hendel, researcher and co-author of Water & Salt, The Essence of Life. “We have salty tears and salty perspiration. The chemical and mineral composition of our blood and body fluids are similar to sea water. From the beginning of life, as unborn babies, we are encased in a sack of salty fluid.” “In water, salt dissolves into mineral ions,” explains Dr Hendel. “These conduct electrical nerve impulses that drive muscle movement and thought processes. Just the simple act of drinking a glass of water requires millions of instructions that come from mineral ions. They’re also needed to balance PH levels in the body.” Mineral salts, she says, are healthy because they give your body the variety of mineral ions needed to balance its functions, remain healthy and heal. These healing properties have long been recognised in central Europe. At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain. Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases. Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US. He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts,

Study co-author Ralf Linker, from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, said: ‘These findings are an important contribution to the understanding of multiple sclerosis and may offer new targets for a better treatment of the disease, for which at present there is no cure.’ It develops when the immune system mistakes the myelin that surrounds the nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord for a foreign body. It strips the myelin off the nerves fibres, which disrupts messages passed between the brain and body causing problems with speech, vision and balance. Another of the study’s authors, Professor David Hafler, from Yale University, said that nature had clearly not intended for the immune system to attack its host body, so he expected that an external factor was playing a part. He said: ‘These are not diseases of bad genes alone or diseases caused by the environment, but diseases of a bad interaction between genes and the environment.’ Humans were genetically selected for conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, where there was no salt. It’s one of the reasons that having a particular gene may make African Americans much more sensitive to salt. ‘Today, Western diets all have high salt content and that has led to increase in hypertension and perhaps autoimmune disease as well.’ The team next plan to study the role that Th17 cells play in autoimmune conditions that affect the skin. ‘It would be interesting to find out if patients with psoriasis can alleviate their symptoms by reducing their salt intake,’ they said. ‘However, the development of autoimmune diseases is a very complex process which depends on many genetic and environmental factors.’ Stick to Good Salts Refined, processed and bleached salts are the problem. Salt is critical to our health and is the most readily available nonmetallic mineral in the world. Our bodies are not designed to processed refined sodium chloride since it has no nutritional value. However, when a salt is filled with dozens of minerals such as in rose-coloured crystals of Himalayan rock salt or the grey texture of Celtic salt, our bodies benefit tremendously for their incorporation into our diet. “These mineral salts are identical to the elements of which our bodies have been built and were originally found in the primal ocean from where life originated,” argues Dr Barbara Hendel, researcher and co-author of Water & Salt, The Essence of Life. “We have salty tears and salty perspiration. The chemical and mineral composition of our blood and body fluids are similar to sea water. From the beginning of life, as unborn babies, we are encased in a sack of salty fluid.” “In water, salt dissolves into mineral ions,” explains Dr Hendel.

“These conduct electrical nerve impulses that drive muscle movement and thought processes. Just the simple act of drinking a glass of water requires millions of instructions that come from mineral ions. They’re also needed to balance PH levels in the body.” Mineral salts, she says, are healthy because they give your body the variety of mineral ions needed to balance its functions, remain healthy and heal. These healing properties have long been recognised in central Europe. At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain. Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases. Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US. He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts,

He said: ‘These are not diseases of bad genes alone or diseases caused by the environment, but diseases of a bad interaction between genes and the environment.’ Humans were genetically selected for conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, where there was no salt. It’s one of the reasons that having a particular gene may make African Americans much more sensitive to salt. ‘Today, Western diets all have high salt content and that has led to increase in hypertension and perhaps autoimmune disease as well.’ The team next plan to study the role that Th17 cells play in autoimmune conditions that affect the skin. ‘It would be interesting to find out if patients with psoriasis can alleviate their symptoms by reducing their salt intake,’ they said. ‘However, the development of autoimmune diseases is a very complex process which depends on many genetic and environmental factors.’ Stick to Good Salts Refined, processed and bleached salts are the problem. Salt is critical to our health and is the most readily available nonmetallic mineral in the world. Our bodies are not designed to processed refined sodium chloride since it has no nutritional value. However, when a salt is filled with dozens of minerals such as in rose-coloured crystals of Himalayan rock salt or the grey texture of Celtic salt, our bodies benefit tremendously for their incorporation into our diet. “These mineral salts are identical to the elements of which our bodies have been built and were originally found in the primal ocean from where life originated,” argues Dr Barbara Hendel, researcher and co-author of Water & Salt, The Essence of Life. “We have salty tears and salty perspiration. The chemical and mineral composition of our blood and body fluids are similar to sea water. From the beginning of life, as unborn babies, we are encased in a sack of salty fluid.” “In water, salt dissolves into mineral ions,” explains Dr Hendel. “These conduct electrical nerve impulses that drive muscle movement and thought processes. Just the simple act of drinking a glass of water requires millions of instructions that come from mineral ions. They’re also needed to balance PH levels in the body.” Mineral salts, she says, are healthy because they give your body the variety of mineral ions needed to balance its functions, remain healthy and heal. These healing properties have long been recognised in central Europe. At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain. Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases. Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US. He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts,

‘Today, Western diets all have high salt content and that has led to increase in hypertension and perhaps autoimmune disease as well.’ The team next plan to study the role that Th17 cells play in autoimmune conditions that affect the skin. ‘It would be interesting to find out if patients with psoriasis can alleviate their symptoms by reducing their salt intake,’ they said. ‘However, the development of autoimmune diseases is a very complex process which depends on many genetic and environmental factors.’ Stick to Good Salts Refined, processed and bleached salts are the problem. Salt is critical to our health and is the most readily available nonmetallic mineral in the world. Our bodies are not designed to processed refined sodium chloride since it has no nutritional value. However, when a salt is filled with dozens of minerals such as in rose-coloured crystals of Himalayan rock salt or the grey texture of Celtic salt, our bodies benefit tremendously for their incorporation into our diet. “These mineral salts are identical to the elements of which our bodies have been built and were originally found in the primal ocean from where life originated,” argues Dr Barbara Hendel, researcher and co-author of Water & Salt, The Essence of Life. “We have salty tears and salty perspiration. The chemical and mineral composition of our blood and body fluids are similar to sea water. From the beginning of life, as unborn babies, we are encased in a sack of salty fluid.” “In water, salt dissolves into mineral ions,” explains Dr Hendel. “These conduct electrical nerve impulses that drive muscle movement and thought processes. Just the simple act of drinking a glass of water requires millions of instructions that come from mineral ions. They’re also needed to balance PH levels in the body.” Mineral salts, she says, are healthy because they give your body the variety of mineral ions needed to balance its functions, remain healthy and heal. These healing properties have long been recognised in central Europe. At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain.

Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases. Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US. He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts,

“These conduct electrical nerve impulses that drive muscle movement and thought processes. Just the simple act of drinking a glass of water requires millions of instructions that come from mineral ions. They’re also needed to balance PH levels in the body.” Mineral salts, she says, are healthy because they give your body the variety of mineral ions needed to balance its functions, remain healthy and heal. These healing properties have long been recognised in central Europe. At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain. Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases. Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US. He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts, fruit and vegetables, people are filling themselves up with “mineral empty” processed food and fizzy drinks. .

He said: ‘These are not diseases of bad genes alone or diseases caused by the environment, but diseases of a bad interaction between genes and the environment.’ Humans were genetically selected for conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, where there was no salt. It’s one of the reasons that having a particular gene may make African Americans much more sensitive to salt. ‘Today, Western diets all have high salt content and that has led to increase in hypertension and perhaps autoimmune disease as well.’ The team next plan to study the role that Th17 cells play in autoimmune conditions that affect the skin. ‘It would be interesting to find out if patients with psoriasis can alleviate their symptoms by reducing their salt intake,’ they said. ‘However, the development of autoimmune diseases is a very complex process which depends on many genetic and environmental factors.’ Stick to Good Salts Refined, processed and bleached salts are the problem. Salt is critical to our health and is the most readily available nonmetallic mineral in the world. Our bodies are not designed to processed refined sodium chloride since it has no nutritional value. However, when a salt is filled with dozens of minerals such as in rose-coloured crystals of Himalayan rock salt or the grey texture of Celtic salt, our bodies benefit tremendously for their incorporation into our diet. “These mineral salts are identical to the elements of which our bodies have been built and were originally found in the primal ocean from where life originated,” argues Dr Barbara Hendel, researcher and co-author of Water & Salt, The Essence of Life. “We have salty tears and salty perspiration. The chemical and mineral composition of our blood and body fluids are similar to sea water. From the beginning of life, as unborn babies, we are encased in a sack of salty fluid.” “In water, salt dissolves into mineral ions,” explains Dr Hendel. “These conduct electrical nerve impulses that drive muscle movement and thought processes. Just the simple act of drinking a glass of water requires millions of instructions that come from mineral ions. They’re also needed to balance PH levels in the body.” Mineral salts, she says, are healthy because they give your body the variety of mineral ions needed to balance its functions, remain healthy and heal. These healing properties have long been recognised in central Europe. At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain. Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases. Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US. He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts, fruit and vegetables, people are filling themselves up with “mineral empty” processed food and fizzy drinks. … Read More:

‘However, the development of autoimmune diseases is a very complex process which depends on many genetic and environmental factors.’ Stick to Good Salts Refined, processed and bleached salts are the problem. Salt is critical to our health and is the most readily available nonmetallic mineral in the world. Our bodies are not designed to processed refined sodium chloride since it has no nutritional value. However, when a salt is filled with dozens of minerals such as in rose-coloured crystals of Himalayan rock salt or the grey texture of Celtic salt, our bodies benefit tremendously for their incorporation into our diet. “These mineral salts are identical to the elements of which our bodies have been built and were originally found in the primal ocean from where life originated,” argues Dr Barbara Hendel, researcher and co-author of Water & Salt, The Essence of Life. “We have salty tears and salty perspiration. The chemical and mineral composition of our blood and body fluids are similar to sea water. From the beginning of life, as unborn babies, we are encased in a sack of salty fluid.” “In water, salt dissolves into mineral ions,” explains Dr Hendel. “These conduct electrical nerve impulses that drive muscle movement and thought processes. Just the simple act of drinking a glass of water requires millions of instructions that come from mineral ions. They’re also needed to balance PH levels in the body.” Mineral salts, she says, are healthy because they give your body the variety of mineral ions needed to balance its functions, remain healthy and heal. These healing properties have long been recognised in central Europe. At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain. Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases. Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US. He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts, fruit and vegetables, people are filling themselves up with “mineral empty” processed food and fizzy drinks. … Read More:

At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain. Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases. Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US. He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts, fruit and vegetables, people are filling themselves up with “mineral empty” processed food and fizzy drinks.

Scientists Officially Link Processed Foods To Autoimmune Disease


Scientists Officially Link Processed Foods To Autoimmune Disease

 

The modern diet of processed foods, takeaways and microwave meals could be to blame for a sharp increase in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, alopecia, asthma and eczema.

A team of scientists from Yale University in the U.S and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, in Germany, say junk food diets could be partly to blame. “This study is the first to indicate that excess refined and processed salt may be one of the environmental factors driving the increased incidence of autoimmune diseases”, they said.

Junk foods at fast food restaurants as well as processed foods at grocery retailers represent the largest sources of sodium intake from refined salts.

Salt and Processed Food

The Canadian Medical Association Journal sent out an international team of researchers to compare the salt content of 2,124 items from fast food establishments such as Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Subway. They found that the average salt content varied between companies and between the same products sold in different countries.

U.S. fast foods are often more than twice as salt-laden as those of other countries. While government-led public health campaigns and legislation efforts have reduced refined salt levels in many countries, the U.S. government has been reluctant to press the issue. That’s left fast-food companies free to go salt crazy, says Norm Campbell, M.D., one of the study authors and a blood-pressure specialist at the University of Calgary.

Many low-fat foods rely on salt – and lots of it – for their flavor. One packet of KFC’s Marzetti Light Italian Dressing might only have 15 calories and 0.5 grams fat, but it also has 510 mg sodium – about 1.5 times as much as one Original Recipe chicken drumstick. (Feel like you’re having too much of a good thing? You probably are).

Bread is the No. 1 source of refined salt consumption in the American diet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Just one 6-inch Roasted Garlic loaf from Subway – just the bread, no meat, no cheeses, no nothing – has 1,260 mg sodium, about as much as 14 strips of bacon.

How Refined Salt Causes Autoimmune Disease

The team from Yale University studied the role of T helper cells in the body. These activate and ‘help’ other cells to fight dangerous pathogens such as bacteria or viruses and battle infections.

Previous research suggests that a subset of these cells – known as Th17 cells – also play an important role in the development of autoimmune diseases.

In the latest study, scientists discovered that exposing these cells in a lab to a table salt solution made them act more “aggressively”. They found that mice fed a diet high in refined salts saw a dramatic increase in the number of Th17 cells in their nervous systems that promoted inflammation. They were also more likely to develop a severe form of a disease associated with multiple sclerosis in humans.

The scientists then conducted a closer examination of these effects at a molecular level. Laboratory tests revealed that salt exposure increased the levels of cytokines released by Th17 cells 10 times more than usual. Cytokines are proteins used to pass messages between cells.

Study co-author Ralf Linker, from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, said:

“These findings are an important contribution to the understanding of multiple sclerosis and may offer new targets for a better treatment of the disease, for which at present there is no cure.”

Multiple Sclerosis develops when the immune system mistakes the myelin that surrounds the nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord for a foreign body. It strips the myelin off the nerves fibres, which disrupts messages passed between the brain and body causing problems with speech, vision and balance.

Another of the study’s authors, Professor David Hafler from Yale University, said that nature had clearly not intended for the immune system to attack its host body, so he expected that an external factor was playing a part. He said:

“These are not diseases of bad genes alone or diseases caused by the environment, but diseases of a bad interaction between genes and the environment.

“Humans were genetically selected for conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, where there was no salt. It’s one of the reasons that having a particular gene may make African Americans much more sensitive to salt.

“Today, Western diets all have high salt content and that has led to increase in hypertension and perhaps autoimmune disease as well.”

The team next plan to study the role that Th17 cells play in autoimmune conditions that affect the skin. The said:

“It would be interesting to find out if patients with psoriasis can alleviate their symptoms by reducing their salt intake, however, the development of autoimmune diseases is a very complex process which depends on many genetic and environmental factors.”

Stick to Good Salts

Refined, processed and bleached salts are the problem. Salt is critical to our health and is the most readily available nonmetallic mineral in the world. Our bodies are not designed to processed refined sodium chloride since it has no nutritional value. However, when a salt is filled with dozens of minerals such as in rose-coloured crystals of Himalayan rock salt or the grey texture of Celtic salt, our bodies benefit tremendously for their incorporation into our diet.

Says Dr. Barbara Hendel, researcher and co-author of Water & Salt, The Essence of Life:

“These mineral salts are identical to the elements from which our bodies have been built and were originally found in the primal ocean from where life originated. We have salty tears and salty perspiration. The chemical and mineral composition of our blood and body fluids are similar to sea water. From the beginning of life, as unborn babies, we are encased in a sack of salty fluid.

“In water, salt dissolves into mineral ions. These conduct electrical nerve impulses that drive muscle movement and thought processes. Just the simple act of drinking a glass of water requires millions of instructions that come from mineral ions. They’re also needed to balance PH levels in the body.”

Mineral salts, explains Dr. Handel, are healthy because they give your body the variety of mineral ions needed to balance its functions, remain healthy and heal. These healing properties have long been recognised in central Europe. At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain. Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases.

Dr. Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US. He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts, fruit and vegetables, people are filling themselves up with “mineral empty” processed food and fizzy drinks.

Scientific Links Between Processed Foods and Depression.


Research shows that the food you eat can have a profound effect on your mental health. So, regardless of your mental health problems, the importance of addressing your diet simply cannot be overstated.

Scientific Links Between Processed Foods and Depression Getting Stronger

In a very real sense, you have two brains — one in your head, and one in your gut. Both are created from the same tissue during fetal development, and they’re connected via your vagus nerve, the tenth cranial nerve that runs from your brain stem to your abdomen.

It is now well established that the vagus nerve is the primary route your gut bacteria use to transmit information to your brain, which helps explain why mental health appears to be so intricately connected to your gut microbiome 1 — the bacteria and other microbes living in your gut.

For example, researchers recently found that fermented foodshelped curb social anxiety disorder in young adults.2,3 Another study4 found that mice engaged in obsessive-compulsive repetitive behaviors were pacified when given a strain of the bacteriumBacteroides fragilis.

Gut bacteria also produce mood-boosting neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). In fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin is found in your intestines, not your brain.

At the end of the day, if you’re trying to address your mental state, optimizing your gut health should be toward the very top of your list.

The Strong Link Between Sugar and Depression

A number of food ingredients can cause or aggravate depression, but the number one culprit is refined sugar and processed fructose, which feed pathogens in your gut, allowing them to overtake more beneficial bacteria.

Sugar also suppresses the activity of a key growth hormone in your brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF levels are critically low in both depression and schizophrenia.

Diets high in sugar also triggers a cascade of chemical reactions in your body that promote chronic inflammation, which over the long term disrupts the normal functioning of your immune system and wreaks havoc on your brain.

Last but not least, refined sugar and processed fructose and grains are key contributors to insulin and leptin resistance, which also plays a significant role in your mental health.

One recent study5,6 found that high-glycemic foods (including those high in refined grains and added sugar) were associated with higher odds of depression.

Added sugar in particular was strongly associated with depression, reconfirming what William Dufty said in his classic best-selling book, Sugar Blues, first published in 1975. Sometimes it takes a while for science to catch up — in this case 40 years!

Other Processed Food Ingredients That Promote Depression

Other processed food ingredients that can contribute to depression and/or other mental health problems include:

  • Genetically engineered (GE) ingredients can significantly alter your gut flora, thereby promoting pathogens while decimating the beneficial microbes necessary for optimal mental and physical health.
  • Glyphosate the most widely used herbicide on food crops in the world with nearly 1 BILLION pounds applied every year — has been shown to cause nutritional deficiencies, especially minerals, which are critical for brain function and mood control. It also causes systemic toxicity, and was recently declared a Class 2A probable human carcinogen. Roundup, in which glyphosate is the active ingredient, has also been shown to increase the antibiotic-resistance of E. coli and Salmonella.
  • Artificial food additives, especially the artificial sweetener aspartame, can wreak havoc with your brain function. Both depression and panic attacks are known potential side effects of aspartame consumption. Other additives, such as artificial colorings, are also known to impact mood.
  • Gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley, may negatively impact mood and brain health.In fact, a number of studies indicate that wheat can have a detrimental effect on mood, promoting depression and even more serious mental health problems such as schizophrenia. Most non-organic wheat is also treated with glyphosate in a pre-harvest processed called desiccation, which adds to its problematic effects (see glyphosate above).

To Heal Depression, Heal Your Gut

As noted by The Epoch Times:7

“In the last 20 years or so, scientists have developed a new respect for bacteria, and the paradigm is turning from a strategy of war, to one of co-existence. Science now considers a robust, diverse bacterial colony to be essential to good health.”

Indeed, the bacteria residing on and in your body outnumber your cells 10 to 1, and viruses in turn outnumber bacteria 10 to 1. In many respects, you are your microbiome.

As Tom Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, told The New York Times:8

“We are, at least from the standpoint of DNA, more microbial than human. That’s a phenomenal insight and one that we have to take seriously when we think about human development.’’

Rapidly mounting research reveals that many of these little microbes have very specific functions, and as a whole play a profound role in your biological processes and overall health — including your brain health.

“According to Dr. Raphael Kellman, a New York City-based physician who specializes in treating the microbiome…the microbiome not only influences our mood, but it also has a lot to do with how the brain functions and develops over time,” The Epoch Times9 notes.

‘By improving the microbiome we can actually see positive changes in mood, cognitive function, and executive function,’ Kellman said…

‘The microbiome communicates with the brain through a number of mechanisms… These pathways include direct neurotransmitters that the microbiome produces.

It communicates with the brain via the vagus nerve, and also via the endocrine system in the stress pathway the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal axis.’

Current treatment for neurological disorders focus on direct changes to brain chemistry, tweaking levels of neurotransmitter chemicals in hopes of tuning in the right balance. But the future of mental health treatment may focus much more on the gut than the brain, and more on food than drugs.”

The fact that improving your microbiome can affect your cognitive function means it’s also important to nourish your gut to stand a better chance against neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s. Interestingly, researchers have also found that recurring depression is associated with shrinkage of the hippocampus, the area of your brain associated with memory formation,10 and depression itself appears to be a risk factor for dementia.

Here, it’s important to take your vitamin D levels into account, as both depression and Alzheimer’s disease are associated with vitamin D deficiency.

The Birth Of A More Holistic Model For Mental Health

Depression and anxiety are typically treated with antidepressants, despite the fact studies have shown them to only be on par with placebos in terms of effectiveness. They’re also associated with a slew of side effects, including the progression into more severe and/or chronic mental health problems. Recent research may in part explain why antidepressants can worsen the situation rather than making it better.

The ‘chemical imbalance’ theory states that depression and anxiety disorders are due to low serotonin levels. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) work by making more serotonin available for use in your brain, which is thought to improve your mood. Alas, recent research reveals that people with social anxiety do not have low serotonin; they havehigher than normal levels. So further boosting serotonin with an SSRI will only make the anxiety worse…

The new focus on gut health is a welcome departure from the synthetic drug model. As discussed in The New York Times,11 researchers are listing and investigating psychoactive compounds found in feces, and are experimenting with fecal transplants in animals to assess its effect on neurodevelopment:

“Anxiety, depression, and several pediatric disorders, including autism and hyperactivity, have been linked with gastrointestinal abnormalities. Microbial transplants were not invasive brain surgery, and that was the point: Changing a patient’s bacteria might be difficult but it still seemed more straightforward than altering his genes. When Lyte began his work on the link between microbes and the brain three decades ago, it was dismissed as a curiosity.

By contrast, last September, the National Institute of Mental Health awarded four grants worth up to $1 million each to spur new research on the gut microbiome’s role in mental disorders, affirming the legitimacy of a field that had long struggled to attract serious scientific credibility… It seems plausible, if not yet proved, that we might one day use microbes to diagnose neurodevelopmental disorders, treat mental illnesses and perhaps even fix them in the brain.”

Abnormal Gut Flora Fosters Abnormal Brain Development

Researchers have also begun experimenting with fecal transplants in autistic children,12 and while such investigations are still in its infancy, there’s plenty of cause for optimism. There does in fact appear to be a close connection between abnormal gut flora in infancy and abnormal brain development — a condition Dr. Campbell-McBride calls Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS). GAPS is the result of poorly developed or imbalanced gut flora and may manifest as a conglomerate of symptoms that can fit the diagnosis of autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attention deficit disorder (ADD) without hyperactivity, dyslexia, dyspraxia, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, just to name a few possibilities.

Are You Low in This Powerful Nutrient?


Potassium, a mineral and electrolyte, is essential for your cells, tissues, and organs to function properly. It plays a vital role in heart health, digestive, and muscular function, bone health, and more.

While potassium is found in many foods commonly consumed in the US – including fruits, vegetables, dairy products, salmon, sardines, and nuts – only 2 percent of US adults get the recommended daily amount of 4,700 milligrams (mg).1

This is especially problematic because potassium is a nutrient that needs to be kept in proper balance with sodium in your blood. If you consume too much sodium, which is common if you eat a lot of processed foods, you’ll have an increased need for potassium.

Others who are at particular risk of low potassium, or hypokalemia, are those with chronic malabsorption syndromes, such as Crohn’s disease, or those taking heart medicine (particularly loop diuretics).2

However, anyone who eats a poor diet – an excess of processed foods and not enough fresh, whole foods – is potentially at risk of inadequate potassium levels.

Optimizing Your Potassium Level Helps Lower Your Blood Pressure

The number of deaths due to hypertension, or high blood pressure, increased nearly 62 percent from 2000 to 2013, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).3 Currently, about 70 million US adults struggle with the condition, which amounts to one in every three adults.

Only 52 percent of those who have been diagnosed have their blood pressure levels under control, and another one in three US adults has pre-hypertension, which means blood pressure is elevated and at risk of progressing to full-blown hypertension.4

Yet, many are not aware that an imbalanced sodium-potassium ratio may lead to hypertension, as a higher level of potassium may blunt the effect of excess salt on blood pressure.5

A recent meta-analysis revealed that daily potassium supplementation is associated with a reduction of blood pressure in patients with high blood pressure. The researchers noted:6

“The reduction in blood pressure significantly correlates with decreased daily urinary sodium-to-potassium ratio and increased urinary potassium. Patients with elevated blood pressure may benefit from increased potassium intake along with controlled or decreased sodium intake.”

Similarly, one four-year observational study (the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology [PURE] study), which included more than 100,000 people in 17 countries, found that while higher sodium levels correlate with an increased risk for high blood pressure, potassium helps offset sodium’s adverse effects.7

In the study, those with the lowest risk for heart problems or death from any cause were consuming three to six grams of sodium a day — far more than US daily recommended limits. So while there is a relationship between sodium and blood pressure, it’s not a linear relationship, and potassium plays a role.

Increasing Potassium May Be More Important Than Decreasing Salt for High Blood Pressure

The authors proposed that instead of recommending aggressive sodium reduction across the board, it might be wiser to recommend high-quality diets rich in potassium instead.

This, they surmised, might achieve greater public health benefits, including blood-pressure reduction. As noted by one of the researchers, Dr. Martin O’Donnell of McMaster University:8

“Potatoes, bananas, avocados, leafy greens, nuts, apricots, salmon, and mushrooms are high in potassium, and it’s easier for people to add things to their diet than to take away something like salt.”

For comparison, according to a 1985 article in The New England Journal of Medicine, titled “Paleolithic Nutrition,” our ancient ancestors got about 11,000 mg of potassium a day and about 700 mg of sodium.9 This equates to nearly 16 times more potassium than sodium.

In contrast, daily potassium consumption with the Standard American Diet averages about 2,500 mg, along with 3,600 mg of sodium.

Researchers have also determined that increasing average potassium intake to the recommended 4,700 mg a day would reduce systolic blood pressure by between 1.7 and 3.2 mm Hg on a population-wide scale.

This decrease, they suggest, is similar to the reduction that would occur if Americans lowered their salt intake by 4 grams a day.10 This isn’t to say that I advise consuming all the salt you want, of course, particularly if it’s processed salt.

The easiest way to achieve an imbalance in your sodium-to-potassium ratio is by consuming a diet of processed foods, which are notoriously low in potassium while high in processed salt.

Potassium May Lower Your Risk of Stroke

Consuming enough potassium isn’t only a matter of maintaining a healthy blood pressure; it also helps to lower your risk of stroke (which makes sense, since elevated blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke).

Research found that women without hypertension who consumed the most potassium (nearly 3,200 mg/day) had a 21 percent reduced risk of stroke.

Further, women who consumed the most potassium were 12 percent less likely to suffer from a stroke, and 12 percent less likely to die during the study period, than those who consumed the least.11 According to the study’s lead researcher:12

Potassium may play a role in improving blood vessel function in our brains. This could allow better oxygenation of our brain tissue, and prevent tissue death that occurs from lack of oxygen to the brain… The effect of potassium consumption on reduced stroke risk could also be due to a better diet overall, though we did not investigate this in our study.”

Separate research also revealed that for every 1000-mg/day increase in potassium intake, the risk of stroke decreased by 11 percent. “Dietary potassium intake is inversely associated with risk of strok.,”

The researchers wrote, “in particular ischemic stroke.”13 (Ischemic stroke, the most common type, results from an obstruction in a blood vessel supplying blood to your brain.)

Why You Should Strive to Get Your Potassium from Your Diet

It’s typically preferable to get your nutrients from foods instead of supplements, and this is certainly the case with potassium. Potassium in fruits and vegetablesis potassium citrate or potassium malate, while that found in supplements is typically potassium chloride.

The citrate, malate, and other compounds in dietary potassium, particularly that in produce, helps your body produce alkali, which may promote bone health14and even help preserve lean muscle mass as you get older.15 As researcher Dr. Bess DawsonHughes, of Tufts University, explained to Nutrition Action:16

If you don’t have adequate alkali to balance the acid load from the grains and protein in a typical American diet, you lose calcium in the urine and you have bone loss…

When the body has more acid than it is easily able to excrete, bone cells get a signal that the body needs to neutralize the acid with alkali… And bone is a big alkali reservoir, so the body breaks down some bone to add alkali to the system.”

That bone loss could lead to brittle bones or even osteoporosis over time. But while potassium in fruits and vegetables may help build bone health, the potassium chloride in supplements may not.

Research by Dawson-Hughes found that people who were in the neutral range for net acid excretion, meaning they had a fairly healthy balance for bone and muscle health, were eating just over eight servings of fruits and vegetables a day along with 5.5 servings of grains.

When they rounded this out, it came to about half as many grains as fruits and vegetables. For many Americans a simple recommendation to increase your alkali (and potassium) while reducing acid is to eat more vegetables and fewer grains.17

What Else Is Potassium Good For?

There’s no doubt that potassium is a superstar for heart health, lowering both your risk of high blood pressure and stroke. It’s also beneficial for lowering your risk of heart disease. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center:18

“Studies show that [people with] a higher sodium-potassium ratio have a higher risk of heart disease and all-cause mortality. Other studies show that heart attack patients who have moderate potassium levels… have a lower risk of death.”

As mentioned, eating a diet rich in potassium is also associated with bone health, particularly in elderly women, and, possibly, reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Symptoms of low potassium include weakness, lack of energy, muscle cramps, stomach disturbances, an irregular heartbeat, and an abnormal EKG (electrocardiogram, a test that measures heart function).19 If you’re wondering what your potassium levels are, ask your physician for a blood test.

Is Your Sodium-to-Potassium Ratio Out of Balance?

If you eat a lot of processed foods and not many vegetables, there’s a good chance your sodium-to-potassium ratio is unbalanced. If you’re not sure, try a free app like My Fitness Pal, which allows you to enter the foods you eat and then calculates the ratio automatically. It’s generally recommended that you consume five times more potassium than sodium, but most Americans get two times more sodium than potassium. If your ratio is out of balance…

  • First, ditch all processed foods, which are very high in processed salt and low in potassium and other essential nutrients
  • Eat a diet of whole, unprocessed foods, ideally organically and locally grown to ensure optimal nutrient content. This type of diet will naturally provide much larger amounts of potassium in relation to sodium
  • When using added salt, use a natural salt. I believe Himalayan salt may be the most ideal, as it contains lower sodium and higher potassium levels compared to other salts

I do not recommend taking potassium supplements to correct a sodium-potassium imbalance. Instead, it is best to simply alter your diet and incorporate more potassium-rich whole foods. Green vegetable juicing is an excellent way to ensure you’re getting enough nutrients for optimal health, including about 300 to 400 mg of potassium per cup. Some additional rich sources of potassium are:

  • Lima beans (955 mg/cup)
  • Winter squash (896 mg/cup)
  • Cooked spinach (839 mg/cup)
  • Avocado (500 mg per medium)

Other potassium-rich fruits and vegetables include:

  • Fruits: papayas, prunes, cantaloupe, and bananas. (But be careful of bananas as they are high in sugar and have half the potassium of an equivalent amount of green vegetables. It is a myth that you are getting loads of potassium from bananas; the potassium is twice as high in green vegetables)
  • Vegetables: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, avocados, asparagus, pumpkin, Swiss chard, and beet greens

Scientists Officially Link Processed Foods To Autoimmune Disease


The modern diet of processed foods, takeaways and microwave meals could be to blame for a sharp increase in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, including alopecia, asthma and eczema.

A team of scientists from Yale University in the U.S and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, in Germany, say junk food diets could be partly to blame.

‘This study is the first to indicate that excess refined and processed salt may be one of the environmental factors driving the increased incidence of autoimmune diseases,’ they said.

Junk foods at fast food restaurants as well as processed foods at grocery retailers represent the largest sources of sodium intake from refined salts.

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The Canadian Medical Association Journal sent out an international team of researchers to compare the salt content of 2,124 items from fast food establishments such as Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Subway. They found that the average salt content varied between companies and between the same products sold in different countries.

U.S. fast foods are often more than twice as salt-laden as those of other countries. While government-led public health campaigns and legislation efforts have reduced refined salt levels in many countries, the U.S. government has been reluctant to press the issue. That’s left fast-food companies free to go salt crazy, says Norm Campbell, M.D., one of the study authors and a blood-pressure specialist at the University of Calgary.

Many low-fat foods rely on salt–and lots of it–for their flavor. One packet of KFC’s Marzetti Light Italian Dressing might only have 15 calories and 0.5 grams fat, but it also has 510 mg sodium–about 1.5 times as much as one Original Recipe chicken drumstick. (Feel like you’re having too much of a good thing? You probably are.

Bread is the No. 1 source of refined salt consumption in the American diet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Just one 6-inch Roasted Garlic loaf from Subway–just the bread, no meat, no cheeses, no nothing–has 1,260 mg sodium, about as much as 14 strips of bacon.

How Refined Salt Causes Autoimmune Disease

The team from Yale University studied the role of T helper cells in the body. These activate and ‘help’ other cells to fight dangerous pathogens such as bacteria or viruses and battle infections. Previous research suggests that a subset of these cells – known as Th17 cells – also play an important role in the development of autoimmune diseases.

In the latest study, scientists discovered that exposing these cells in a lab to a table salt solution made them act more ‘aggressively.’

They found that mice fed a diet high in refined salts saw a dramatic increase in the number of Th17 cells in their nervous systems that promoted inflammation.

They were also more likely to develop a severe form of a disease associated with multiple sclerosis in humans.

The scientists then conducted a closer examination of these effects at a molecular level.

Laboratory tests revealed that salt exposure increased the levels of cytokines released by Th17 cells 10 times more than usual. Cytokines are proteins used to pass messages between cells.

Study co-author Ralf Linker, from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, said: ‘These findings are an important contribution to the understanding of multiple sclerosis and may offer new targets for a better treatment of the disease, for which at present there is no cure.’

It develops when the immune system mistakes the myelin that surrounds the nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord for a foreign body.

It strips the myelin off the nerves fibres, which disrupts messages passed between the brain and body causing problems with speech, vision and balance.

Another of the study’s authors, Professor David Hafler, from Yale University, said that nature had clearly not intended for the immune system to attack its host body, so he expected that an external factor was playing a part.

He said: ‘These are not diseases of bad genes alone or diseases caused by the environment, but diseases of a bad interaction between genes and the environment.

 ‘Humans were genetically selected for conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, where there was no salt. It’s one of the reasons that having a particular gene may make African Americans much more sensitive to salt.

‘Today, Western diets all have high salt content and that has led to increase in hypertension and perhaps autoimmune disease as well.’

The team next plan to study the role that Th17 cells play in autoimmune conditions that affect the skin.

‘It would be interesting to find out if patients with psoriasis can alleviate their symptoms by reducing their salt intake,’ they said.

‘However, the development of autoimmune diseases is a very complex process which depends on many genetic and environmental factors.’

Stick to Good Salts

Refined, processed and bleached salts are the problem. Salt is critical to our health and is the most readily available nonmetallic mineral in the world. Our bodies are not designed to processed refined sodium chloride since it has no nutritional value. However, when a salt is filled with dozens of minerals such as in rose-coloured crystals of Himalayan rock salt or the grey texture of Celtic salt, our bodies benefit tremendously for their incorporation into our diet.

“These mineral salts are identical to the elements of which our bodies have been built and were originally found in the primal ocean from where life originated,” argues Dr Barbara Hendel, researcher and co-author of Water & Salt, The Essence of Life. “We have salty tears and salty perspiration. The chemical and mineral composition of our blood and body fluids are similar to sea water. From the beginning of life, as unborn babies, we are encased in a sack of salty fluid.”

“In water, salt dissolves into mineral ions,” explains Dr Hendel. “These conduct electrical nerve impulses that drive muscle movement and thought processes. Just the simple act of drinking a glass of water requires millions of instructions that come from mineral ions. They’re also needed to balance PH levels in the body.”

Mineral salts, she says, are healthy because they give your body the variety of mineral ions needed to balance its functions, remain healthy and heal. These healing properties have long been recognised in central Europe. At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain. Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases.

Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US.

He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts, fruit and vegetables, people are filling themselves up with “mineral empty” processed food and fizzy drinks.

Study Source: This is the result of a study conducted by Dr. Markus Kleinewietfeld, Prof. David Hafler (both Yale University, New Haven and the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, and Harvard University, USA), PD Dr. Ralf Linker (Dept. of Neurology, University Hospital Erlangen), Professor Jens Titze (Vanderbilt University and Friedrich-Alexander-Universitat Erlangen-Nurnberg, FAU, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg) and Professor Dominik N. Muller (Experimental and Clinical Research Center, ECRC, a joint cooperation between the Max-Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine, MDC, Berlin, and the Charite — Universitatsmedizin Berlin and FAU) (Nature, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature11868)*. In autoimmune diseases, the immune system attacks healthy tissue instead of fighting pathogens.